U of U working to get victims help after two cameras found in Student Life Center

Dec 1, 2022, 1:21 PM

SALT LAKE CITY — University of Utah police arrested a man Wednesday after two cameras were found in the Student Life Center.

The university and its department of public safety said they are focusing specifically on victims and getting them the help they need to move forward. 

Resources are available to those impacted. Those include crime victim advocates, as well as the university’s student wellness center and survivor advocates. 

Ben Smith, a senior at the University of Utah, said he’s never felt unsafe as a student. Hearing stories like this, though, challenges him to think twice. 

“When I hear stories like this, it makes me really wanna double check the rooms that I’m entering and what I thought were private spaces. Stories like this make me rethink it all,” Smith said.

Midmorning Wednesday, DPS said a “patron” at the Student Life Center found a camera taped under a sink in an all-gender bathroom on the third floor and turned it into the front desk. From there, staff called University police, who found that wasn’t the only camera put up. 

A second camera was found in another all-gender bathroom down on the basement level.

Police also found tape, which the university said could have been for or attached to a third camera, placed under a sink in another all-gender restroom on the second floor.

“We will not stand for any predatory means upon our students,” said Capt. Brian Lohrke, operations captain for the University of Utah Dept. of Public Safety. 

As a senior, Smith said it’s a reminder that things like this do happen and aren’t subject to certain places.

“You hear horror stories of the same sort of things: cameras set up in Airbnbs, hotel rooms,” Smith said. “Any room that I enter in a space that’s not mine, having to double check maybe vents, enclosed spaces, where someone may be able to hide something like that.”

Through images on the cameras, police identified a potential suspect and arrested him at his home in Murray.

Cameras found in bathrooms at U of U student life center, suspect in custody

Following the initial investigation, Frederick Weitz III, 32, was put behind bars at the Salt Lake County Metro Jail, where he faces charges of identity fraud and voyeurism. The identity fraud charge is a result of pretending to be someone else through an ID to get into the campus building in the first place, while the other charge is for the inappropriate invasion of privacy.

“This is a good lesson for all of us, and gross crimes do happen,” Lohrke said.

This incident raises questions on what steps to take from here.

“Is this something to pursue politically? Is it something that needs to be done by the university? Right? Do the students that are coming in, the younger crowd, need to push our higher ups at the university to make routine checks?” Smith said.

University staff will be checking bathrooms across campus for any more cameras.

DPS said they’ve specifically asked those who regularly clean the restrooms and facilities to be on the lookout for anything out of place.

They’re also asking anyone who sees anything suspicious to leave the evidence alone and call University police right away.

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U of U working to get victims help after two cameras found in Student Life Center