Jurors Wednesday were expected to begin hearing testimony in the trial of a former Palm Springs hotel employee who allegedly installed a hidden camera found by a guest inside a bathroom.
Oscar Patino-Aguilar, 32, is accused of hiding the camera inside a bathroom light fixture in a room at the Baymont Inn & Suites at 390 S. Indian Canyon Drive.
A jury was seated Tuesday for his trial, which is being held at the Southwest Justice Center in Murrieta. He faces felony charges of burglary and bringing drugs into a county jail, along with misdemeanor counts of invasion of privacy and possession of controlled substances.
Prosecutors allege the defendant installed the camera inside a room where two women and two 16-year-old girls were staying on June 13, 2016.
According to a declaration in support of an arrest warrant, Patino-Aguilar showed the group to their room, after which the women and girls then went to the pool. When one of the women returned to the hotel room to retrieve some water, she noticed a hotel worker wearing an “Oscar” nameplate inside the room, with the lights off and curtains drawn, and said he rushed out.
She searched through her belongings to see if anything had been taken, then noticed that the light bulb directly above the toilet was positioned at a strange angle, and upon further examination, found “a small electronic object hugging the light bulb,” aimed toward the toilet, according to the declaration.
Patino-Aguilar was later detained in the hotel lobby and initially denied any knowledge of the camera, but later admitted to a Palm Springs police officer that he placed the camera in the room, court papers allege. Upon being detained, he was allegedly found in possession of jewelry, counterfeit money and receipts for surveillance camera purchases in his pockets.