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Salt Lake landlord put hidden cameras in renters’ bedrooms, bathrooms, police say

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FILE: The Salt Lake County Jail

Jordan Allred, Deseret News

SALT LAKE CITY— A Salt Lake landlord — who is also a registered sex offender — has been arrested and accused of placing hidden cameras in the house he was renting to others.

Police believe Larry S. Phillips, 69, has secretly recorded at least 13 people over the past several years at his house and other properties he owns, and possibly even at the University of Utah, according to a police affidavit.

“Most of the videos are recordings of the male tenants living in the home at the time they were recorded. There are also videos of females, visitors and even LDS missionaries,” the affidavit states.

Phillips was booked into the Salt Lake County Jail on Monday for investigation of 13 counts of voyeurism using concealed electronic equipment, and seven counts of burglary for allegedly entering the rooms of tenants and placing hidden cameras or changing SD cards.

The investigation began on July 31 when two men who were renting separate rooms at 1906 E. St. Marys Drive each found hidden cameras in their bedrooms that were designed to look like iPhone charger blocks, according to a police affidavit.

“On the face of the charger, directly above the USB port, which fully functions as a charger for any USB device, was a small camera lens. The cameras work by motion detection and record both video/audio files to a mini SD card which is accessible from the back of the charger,” the affidavit states.

The two renters showed police the hidden cameras and also “strange wiring” they had found in their private rooms, according to the affidavit.

Phillips, who rented the rooms, also lived in the same house. Police had the two renters make up a story to tell Phillips as to why officers were in the house as detectives continued their investigation.

During their research, police learned that Phillips was convicted in 2015 of two counts of forcible sex abuse for an incident that happened in St. George in 2002 and said he is a registered sex offender.

On Sept. 10, a SWAT team served a search warrant on Phillips’ house.

“Detectives seized over 70 items of electronic evidence from the residence — laptops, video recorders, cameras, more hidden cameras, SD cards, flash drives, multiple cellphones, tablets, hard drives, etc,” according to the affidavit.

When interviewed by police, Phillips said he had four cameras in the house that were only for security purposes. After investigators served a search warrant on Phillips’ electronic devices, they reported finding more than 90 “voyeurism videos on SD cards and flash drives and 230+ more videos were extracted from Larry’s cellphones, laptops and tablets which were taken to the Regional Computer Forensics Laboratory in Salt Lake City. To date, detectives have a total of over 320 voyeurism videos,” the affidavit states.

Police also found more than four cameras in Phillips’ home, according to a search warrant.

The videos recorded renters in their bathrooms and some having sex in their rooms, according the affidavit.

“After months of investigating every possible lead, detectives have positively identified and interviewed 13 victims up to this point. Detectives positively identified videos that have been recorded in Larry’s primary residence, his art studio in the backyard, and at two separate houses in the (Salt Lake) Valley that were owned by one of Larry’s friends. Detectives also have videos of male models being secretly recorded in art classes at an unknown location as well as locker rooms videos recorded at an unknown location,” the affidavit states.

Phillips is taking classes at the University of Utah and police were still trying to determine Monday if any videos were recorded there, according to the affidavit.

The videos are believed to have been recorded over the course of several years, police say.