MARYSVILLE, Calif. (CBS13) — A Yuba County convenience store’s unusual tactic to deter vandalism drew sharp criticism from customers who say the new addition to the men’s bathroom makes them uncomfortable.

The manager of the Circle K in Marysville said the surveillance camera mounted inside the bathroom has been extremely effective in curtailing vandalism in their store. The camera is a decoy and doesn’t record anything, store employees said.

The sight of the camera was still unnerving to customers like Robert Donaldson, who said he complained after spotting the electronic eye aimed straight at the sink and toilet area of the single-occupancy bathroom.

“It’s kind of shocking to see a camera inside the bathroom,” Donaldson said.

The camera was installed in November after gang symbols were carved into the wood-paneled walls of the restroom.

Legal experts say the store isn’t technically breaking any laws since the camera isn’t functional, but if it were, it would be a violation of privacy laws. The store could also open itself up to legal challenges from those who don’t realize the camera isn’t rolling.

The news is of little comfort to Donaldson, who worries that footage could somehow end up in public.

“YouTube, there’s a lot of crazy stuff going on nowadays. Who knows what it could be used for?” he said.

While unpopular, the business manager said they haven’t had any vandalism at all since the camera was put in.

Comments (137)
  1. Jo Cutler says:

    Everyone has just been told it’s a fake…I wonder how long until it’s vandalized again!

  2. Bill says:

    The public is being extended a courtesy at the stores cost. Since the public can’t appreciate the courtesy, close the bathroom. Problem solved.

    1. Marckos says:

      I believe it’s the law. The State of California includes the Uniform Plumbing Code as part of its building code that sets safety and common sense standards that need to be followed by all. Most of the Code’s contents are boring for the layman, as they apply to types of piping and infrastructue that must be followed while installing and maintaining safe and reliable plumbing. However, the same Code also stipulates that all public businesses must provide restroom facilities for its customers.

      Summarized by the American Restroom Association:

      2003 UNIFORM PLUMBING CODE (UPC) Published by the International Association of Plumbing and Mechanical Officials

      413.2.2 Fixtures accessible only to private offices shall not be counted to determine compliance with this section. establishments with an occupant load of one hundred (100) or more shall be provided with separate facilities for employees and customers. Customer and employee facilities may be combined for occupant loads less than one hundred (100).

      413.3 Separate Facilities
      Separate toilet facilities shall be provided for each sex.
      (2) In occupancies serving ten (10) or fewer people, one (1) toilet facility, designed for use by no more than one (1) person at a time, shall be permitted for use by both sexes.
      (3) In business and mercantile occupancies with a total floor area of fifteen hundred (1500) square feet (139.5 m 2 ) or less, one (1) toilet facility, designed for use by no more than one (1) person at a time, shall satisfy the requirements for serving customers and employees of both sexes.

      413.5 Facilities in Mercantile and Business Occupancies Serving Customers
      413.5.1 Requirements for customers and employees shall be permitted to be met with a single set of restrooms accessible to both groups. The required number of fixtures shall be the greater of the required number for employees or the required number for customers.
      413.5.2 Fixtures for customer use shall be permitted to be met by providing a centrally located facility accessible to several stores. The maximum distance from entry to any store to this facility shall not exceed five hundred (500) feet (152.4 m).

      In their attempt to clarify this even further, the Restroom Association sent a message to the board that evaluates the code: “Is it the intent of the 2003 UPC to require a toilet facility for customers, patrons, and visitors of all mercantile and business establishments?” To which they replied:

      Yes. The general provisions of Section 413.0 and Table 4-1 have requirements for employee use and public use in a number of occupancies including assembly, institutional, and office or public buildings.

      1. Ron says:

        Then I’d make sure the bathroom was perpetually “out of order.”

    2. wddb says:

      Sorry. You are incorrect about the requirement for bathrooms.

  3. victor says:

    who was the STUPID person to allow this on the internet. Now vandals will know it is a fake.

    1. wondon says:

      Morons who vandalize bathrooms probably don’t read the news

  4. greg says:

    i cant say that i blame him for that . id do it too. someone will probably just steal it though.

  5. The Best From The Wild NorthWest says:

    If I knew where that place was, I’d go there, steal the fake surveillance camera replace that with a picture of a surveillance camera and then vandalize the bathroom.

    LOL. JK

    1. beedogs says:

      You are such a badass. Not.

    2. Backwards boB says:

      Please tell us, just exatly, why you would do this. What joy would you get out of destroying some one elses property and making others who use that restroom suffer the eyesore you left behind? Is it because destruction is the onlything you are capable of accomplishing?

      You and people liki you are a blight on this planet. And the reason it is in the mess it is in now, even if you only posted your drivel just to tick others off, because that is a form of vandalism in its own right.


      Backwards boB

      1. Robert in CA says:

        Exactly correct Bob, he is a tiny little human being, a blight on society.

    3. Dog Dung Low Lifes Everywhere says:

      And if caught you vandalizing MY property I would beat you within an inch of your very life you peice of slimy dog dung.

  6. Danielle says:

    Do you really think vandals read the news here or anywhere?!

  7. tobias_Funke says:

    I would have wagged my pickle at it! Yeah, you saw it!

  8. LYON intern says:

    MIKE LYON wants his camera back!!!

  9. Phil says:

    They say the camera adds about ten pounds, I guess a few of the men are now proud of themselves? LOL

  10. scopedope says:

    If it bothers you, go somewhere else! Problem solved.

  11. sean patriot says:

    Cameras in the bathroom are illegal

    1. Damien says:

      You are a genius. Do you comprehend what you read? Apparently not. Go back to 4th grade and learn to read.

  12. jamie5 says:

    There should be a federal law mandating clean, like CLEAN restrooms in gas stations, restaurants, and all public places. They should be forced to be clean, clean, clean. This could be the beginning of a country that might actually get its self respect back.

    1. WahhBaby says:

      Just what we need. More nanny state laws. Use your own bathroom, or carry a bucket of cleaning products with you and tidy up before hand.

      Wahhh, I need a new law wahhhhhh.

  13. Mr Positive says:

    The good news is that type of ‘fish-eye’ lense makes everything look bigger ! – Hugs Mr Positive

  14. Eyeball says:

    Just close down the restroom if you dont want to risk vandalism.

  15. NC DAN says:

    Leave it to California to make an issue over this .

  16. Hank Warren says:

    Cameras in bathrooms, yet another violation of our rights. Add it to the list of gov’t violations of our right:
    They violate the 1st Amendment by placing protesters in cages, banning books like “America Deceived II” and censoring the internet.
    They violate the 2nd Amendment by confiscating guns.
    They violate the 4th and 5th Amendment by molesting airline passengers.
    They violate the entire Constitution by starting undeclared wars for foreign countries.
    Impeach Obama and sweep out the Congress, except Ron Paul.
    (Last link of Banned Book):

    1. Edumacated not says:

      Read the article again. Are you smarter than a 5th grader? Clearly NOT.

  17. D.C. al Fine says:

    Well, no. The fish-eye makes things look smaller unless they are right up close to the lens.

    The answer will end up being putting prison johns into gas stations.

  18. D.C. al Fine says:

    There is no right to require a private person or business to bear the cost of constant repairs to private property due to the inability of the people and their government to keep human trash off the streets, Hank. It is the gang members who are violating real rights here.

  19. Joe Dodd says:

    There is no law in CA that requires a private business to offer a restroom to it’s customers. The UBC and CBC only codify how those are to be constructed and maintained, should the business choose to have them.

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