The Abingdon man, who captured images of himself while installing a “spy camera” in a family bathroom in White Marsh Mall last month, could have installed cameras in other places, given his profession, Baltimore County Police say.
Mussawwir M. Sterrett, 40, of the 3600 block of Woodsdale Road, is charged with peeping Tom and prurient intent in a private place in connection with the discovery Dec. 23 of the small camera in the bathroom near the food court at the mall.
Baltimore County Police Department released video of the person who caught himself on video as he was installing the camera. Police said that when the video was made public, they received tips that led them to Sterrett.
It’s possible Sterrett, a general manager for Custom Runs Tech and A/V, could have placed cameras in other places. According to its website, www.customruns.com, Custom Runs provides services including email encryption, IT consulting, cloud services and security cameras, among others.
“There is the slight potential that if he has been inside someone’s home, that he could have had the opportunity to install cameras unbeknownst to the homeowner,” Officer Jennifer Peach, of the Baltimore County Police Department, said. “It’s highly unlikely, but there’s always potential for that, so it’s important to know he is in this line of work.”
It also lends probable cause to police in charging Sterrett because it shows “he has the means, he had the intellect and he has the technological ability,” Peach said.
The motion-activated camera, which police said was in place from anywhere between 3 and 4 p.m. to 6 to 6:30 p.m. when it was discovered, captured images of 11 different people — men, women, boys and girls, Peach said.
Anyone who may have been in the family bathroom during those hours on Dec. 23 is asked to call 410-307-2020.
The video captured different body parts, including intimate parts, Peach said, but the camera shifted over time so “what he intended to catch, he wasn’t catching.”
The camera was installed against the back wall on a partition between two of the stalls in the family restroom, which are big enough to accommodate several people, Peach said. It was pointed toward the toilet in one of the stalls, she said.
The camera, described as a 1-by-2-inch black box with a 4-inch wire that led to a small lens, was in plain view.
It was discovered by a patron using the restroom, who happened to look up, she said.
“By all descriptions it would have been easy to see if you looked up,” Peach said. “Most people who use the family restroom do it because they have kids. Most people aren’t looking up toward the ceiling area, they’re looking down.”
Baltimore County Police expect hundreds of people to come forward to say they may have been in the bathroom when the camera was in place.
“It’s going to be a long process of trying to determine who our victims are,” Peach said.
The peeping Tom charge is viewing people without their knowledge; the prurient intent charge is securing a camera to view people in a place where there is an expectation of privacy, she said.
Police also obtained a search warrant for Sterrett’s home in Abingdon and are doing a forensic exam of the devices seized.
“It’s possible other things could be found on those devices that could lead to additional charges,” Peach said.
Sterrett was taken to the Baltimore County Detention Center, where he was released on his own recognizance.
He does not have a lawyer listed in court records.