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Archie Ingersoll, Published January 22 2009

Video recorder found in Grand Forks Air Force Base women's locker room

Active-duty member considered suspect in case

GRAND FORKS, N.D. – The discovery of a video recorder hidden in a women’s locker room at the Grand Forks Air Force Base has prompted a military investigation, authorities announced Wednesday.

The digital recorder, which was found inside a locker, contained video footage of a portion of the main women’s locker room in the base’s fitness center, according to a news release from the base.

“Investigators confirmed that no portion of the showers or restrooms was recorded,” the release stated.

Second Lt. Anastasia Wasem, a spokeswoman for the base, would not confirm whether any people, dressed or undressed, could be seen on the video, but she said a female investigator was reviewing the footage.

“The video is being looked at for any potential victims,” Wasem said, adding that any victims will be notified.

Wasem said an active-duty member of the Air Force is considered a suspect but would not provide the suspect’s name or other details. The suspect was placed under “military control” Friday, the same day the recorder was found, she said.

In the military judicial system, being put under military control is similar to being taken into custody. The 319th Security Forces Squadron, an Air Force version of the Army’s Military Police Corps, is conducting the investigation.

In the wake of the unsettling discovery, other base facilities were inspected, but no other recording devices were found.

“The base is developing procedures to routinely inspect all restrooms and locker areas and, in particular, examine our access procedures for the locker rooms at the gym,” Wednesday’s release said.

Asked how the suspect might have gotten into the women’s locker room and if the suspect worked at the gym, Wasem declined to comment.

“This person has to have all of their legal rights, so we can’t release information like that,” she said.

Wasem said it’s not known how long the recorder was in the locker. Nor did she know what size or type of recorder it was. She would not say how the recorder was detected, what area of the locker room was recorded or how long the footage lasts.

Criminal charges are possible, but officials could not say whether charges would be filed in the military or civilian judicial system.

The base is home to about 2,300 men, women and children.

The Grand Forks Herald and The Forum are both owned by Forum Communications Co.