News Release News Release The City of Palo Alto
Communications Department
250 Hamilton Ave
Palo Alto, CA 94301


Subject :

Police Arrest Man for Planting Camera in Employee Restroom
Contact : Marco Estrada, Agent, Police Department    650-329-2413
Palo Alto, CA -- Police have arrested a grocery store employee who planted a hidden camera in a private employee-only restroom after a female employee discovered it.

On Wednesday, October 15, 2014, at about 2:19 p.m., our 24-hour dispatch center received a call from Piazza's Fine Foods at 3922 Middlefield Road reporting that a "camera pen" had been discovered in an employee-only restroom.  The victim, a woman in her thirties and a contract employee of the business, told police that she had gone to use the bathroom while on duty at about 11:10 p.m. on October 14.  While she was seated on the toilet, she noticed an object sticking out from supplies on a shelf nearby.  The object looked like a writing pen.  Because it was in an odd location, she picked it up and examined it, and then realized it was actually a hidden camera.  The victim told her supervisor, and they both reported the incident to Piazza’s management the following day and notified police.  The victim turned the camera over to officers.  Piazza’s management fully cooperated with our investigation from the beginning.

Detectives have been conducting follow-up on this case since the time it was originally reported.  They presented the case to the Santa Clara County District Attorney’s Office for review, and on December 23, officers obtained an arrest warrant for the suspect, 39-year-old Benjamin Joseph Clerici of South San Francisco.  At the time of the incident, he was the night manager for Piazza’s.  The warrant charged him with a single misdemeanor count of using a concealed camera without consent with the intent to invade another’s privacy.
The suspect self-surrendered pursuant to the warrant at the Palo Alto Police Department on the morning of Monday, December 29, 2014.  Police issued him a criminal citation, so no booking photo is available.

Police believe the camera was placed in the bathroom shortly before the victim discovered it, and do not believe there are any additional victims.

Anyone with information about this incident is asked to call our 24-hour dispatch center at 650-329-2413.  Anonymous tips can be e-mailed to or sent via text message or voice mail to 650-383-8984.  Tips can also be submitted anonymously through our free mobile app, downloadable at or