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A Los Alamos fire captain allegedly videotaped a female firefighter in the shower area of Station 3 in White Rock last Sunday. Police issued Capt. Aaron Adair, 36, a summons to appear in Magistrate Court to face charges of voyeurism, a misdemeanor and tampering with evidence, a petty misdemeanor. Adair has worked for LAFD for 11 years.
“He has been placed on paid administrative leave while criminal and administrative investigations are underway,” Chief Doug Tucker said.
The criminal complaint filed against Adair in Magistrate Court states that he used a small black video camera, “to videotape the intimate areas of another person without the knowledge or consent of that person.”
In this case, Adair allegedly videotaped the 28-year-old woman in the shower area of the station’s co-ed bathroom facility. The tampering with evidence charge stems from his alleged destruction of the camera’s Secure Digital (SD) card.
The alleged victim discovered the camera inside the bathroom’s paper towel dispenser, according to the statement of probable cause. She told police the dispenser became difficult to operate on the previous afternoon so early Sunday morning she opened its cover to determine if the batteries needed replacement. That is when she discovered the device wedged between the side of the dispenser and the paper towel roll. The bathroom is one of seven located along the bunk area hallway of the station.
The alleged victim reported finding the camera, which is equipped with a USB port which can be used for downloading and subsquent computer viewing.
The police arrived at 7:49 a.m. and examined the remaining bathrooms as well as the alleged victim’s bunk area for hidden electronic devices. They did not find any additional devices, according to the report.
Four male firefighters were on duty at the station Sunday morning including Adair and his brother Jerry Adair. According to the report, after fire personnel left the computer room at the station, Adair approached the alleged victim who was holding the camera.
“Aaron appeared very nervous and was shaking,” she stated in the report. He admitted placing the camera in the dispenser and told her he was very sorry. He “begged” her not to pursue the situation because his career would be jeopardized.
According to the report, Adair asked her for the camera, removed the chip and gave her back the camera, saying that he would destroy the card.
The alleged victim told police that she received a telephone call from Adair later in the day, during which he told her that if questioned, he would deny any knowledge of the camera.
The camera was pointing in a direction where it would be assumed that anyone in the bathroom, especially in the area of the toilet and shower, would be in clear view, according to the police report.
Cpl. Paige Early questioned the alleged victim about the likelihood of her being on video on the SD card. She said that she showered that morning so it was likely she would be nude on any video the camera might have captured.
Early and Sgt. Preston Ballew drove to Adair’s Los Alamos home where they found him in his front yard. Ballew asked him for the SD card. Adair denied any knowledge of the card. Early read Adair his Miranda rights and the officers had him go to the police station for questioning. He continued to deny knowledge of the camera or card for 2-2.5 hours.
In an unusual twist, Adair’s brother, Jerry, arrived at the police station insisting that while the camera belonged to his brother, it was he who placed the camera in the dispenser. It later came out that Jerry felt he didn’t have nearly as much to lose as his brother who has a wife and five daughters, according to the police.
Once Adair heard that his brother was confessing, he admitted that he had placed the camera in the paper towel dispenser the night before it was discovered, “in an effort catch (the alleged victim) on video.” Adair also told police that he destroyed the SD card.
He said he placed the SD card inside an orange squash he had at his home, according the statement of probable cause. He then drove to Rendija Canyon to the shooting range area and pitched the squash out the window of his vehicle. Ballew drove Adair to that area to retrieve the card. The shattered squash was located but not the card. Adair admitted that he had “crumbled” the card and placed just two pieces inside the squash. He tossed the remaining two pieces out of his vehicle window somewhere along the roadway.
Adair granted police permission to enter his home and retrieve his computer and laptop to determine if either contained inappropriate videos. They did not and were later returned to Adair.
Deputy Fire Chief Patrick Sleik informed police that all 15 computers at Fire Station 3 were seized and would be reviewed by county IT professionals the following morning.
“They made images of the hard drives that will be entered into evidence and are still in the process of reviewing the computers for possible administrative violations,” Deputy Police Chief Kevin Purtymun said.
If convicted, Adair faces up to a $500 fine and 364 days in jail on the misdemeanor charge and up to a $250 fine and six months in jail on the petty misdemeanor charge.