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Accused Whataburger bathroom video voyeur arrested on 14 counts

ABILENE, Texas (KTAB/KRBC) - The man accused of placing a video camera in the restroom of a Whataburger restaurant has now been arrested, according to Abilene police.

TJ Paul Helser, of Abilene, was arrested on Tuesday on 14 counts of Invasive Visual Recording, a state jail felony.  

 

He was taken into custody and his home was searched and vehicle towed away. 

KTAB and KRBC crews caught him being escorted out of the Taylor County Jail Tuesday evening.  Our reporters asked him questions about how many times he hid cameras and how he would feel if his kids were to be recorded.

Helser walked without comment with his head down.

Helser, according to jail records, had been arrested nine times in Abilene on charges ranging from drug charges to child endangerment charges.

Kelsee Brown was also arrested, but on a charge of Possession of a Controlled Substance, Meth.

Helser was taken to the Taylor County Courthouse Wednesday just hours after Abilene police released footage of the suspect placing the camera inside a bathroom stall.

"Through several tips from both Abilene Crime Stoppers and from citizens calling the non-emergency number, a suspect was identified," police said. "Officers detained the suspect for questioning and after serving a search warrant on a home in the 1200 Block of Shelton, arrested Helser on the above charges."

Police said it was "pretty quick" that the camera was discovered by the woman on Friday after being placed.

Last Friday, a woman called police after finding the device inside the toilet lid at a south Abilene Whataburger. 

A woman, who said she wishes to remain anonymous, told KTAB/KRBC that when she went to the restroom, she flushed the toilet and noticed an unusual small circle under the rim of the toilet lid. She said she looked closer and found what appeared to be a camera lens. The woman said she then followed the camera to 'a bunch of wires connected to the device' under the lid of the tank.

The woman said she then ripped the device out of the tank and and ran to her car where she called police.

Whataburger said it had launched its own investigation and was cooperating with police. 

“At Whataburger it’s our goal to make sure families feel safe and comfortable at each of our restaurants, and this is truly a concerning claim. We take matters such as this very seriously. As soon as we heard of the allegation, we immediately launched an investigation of our own and are working closely with local police. This is an active investigation and we ask that questions be directed to Abilene Police Department as we continue supporting their efforts.” – Whataburger Corporate Communications

In light of this event, the Abilene Police Department wants to "ask that businesses and restaurants check their restrooms, including toilet tanks or other fixtures within the restroom for any electronic devices. If a device is located, please do not touch it and contact the Police Department immediately."


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