North Carolina

Woman finds spy camera in gym but vows to keep going after losing 100+ pounds

Darren Rodney Astles is charged with two counts, possession of images from peeping and peeping using photographic device.
Darren Rodney Astles is charged with two counts, possession of images from peeping and peeping using photographic device. Catawba County Jail

A woman said she was “terrified” after finding a spy camera in the tanning bed room of her North Carolina gym.

In spite of that, Holly Morrow said she is not going to quit exercising at the Viewmont Planet Fitness, where she remains a “paying customer,” the Hickory Daily Record reported.

“I like going to Planet Fitness. That’s my place — I’ve lost 111 pounds,” Morrow said, according to WBTV.

It might help that the suspect who placed the secret camera in the gym was arrested and charged Tuesday.

Police said Darren Astles used the camera that looks similar to a phone charger to secretly film a woman in the tanning room, WSOC reported.

The 50-year-old was charged with felony counts of peeping using a photographic imaging device, and possession of image from peeping, per WBTV. He’s being held in the Catawba County Jail on $12,000 bond, according to a Spectrum News tweet.

Morrow said she feels “safer” after Astles’ arrest, but still has questions after finding the recording device March 12, according to the Hickory Daily Record.

When she entered a tanning room at the gym, Morrow said she saw something plugged into the wall that looked like a phone charger without a cord, WSOC reported. Upon closer inspection, she saw a light and what looked like a camera lens, according to the TV station.

She took it to a Planet Fitness employee, and when she returned somebody claiming it was their phone charger took it and left, WBTV said.

“I’m trying to do the right thing and I’m terrified. I was raised that you don’t violate people like this and I just feel so violated,” Morrow said, according to the TV station.

After initially saying there was no recording device, Planet Fitness has changed its response, and stressed the importance of members’ privacy, the Hickory Daily Record reported. It also revoked Atles’ membership to the gym, according to the newspaper.

Morrow wants her experience to be a lesson to others to be cautious of their surroundings, but remains disturbed by it, per WSOC.

“It makes me feel sick to my stomach. It makes me feel sick that there is an individual that was there that day,” Morrow said, according to the TV station. “Who knows how many times this person has been there. And who knows how many people are potential victims.”

York County, South Carolina deputies charged Cody Taylor, 27, with peeping after finding a tiny camera that looks like a pen taped to a window of a home near where Taylor lives. Deputies encourage residents in the age of technology to be aware of

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Noah Feit is a Real Time reporter with The State and McClatchy Carolinas Regional Team. The award-winning journalist has worked for multiple newspapers since starting his career in 1999.

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