BYU police investigate recorder found hidden in lecture hall

Posted at 10:31 PM, Nov 17, 2014
and last updated 2014-11-18 00:31:36-05

PROVO, Utah -- Police at Brigham Young University are investigating a potential spy on campus.

Two professors first discovered a hidden tape recorder inside a lecture hall at the Joseph Smith Building on Oct. 23.

"They were working on a power point and they just happened to pick up the stool behind the lectern there and underneath it was a small digital Sony recorder that was velcroed to the bottom," said Lt. Arnold Lemmon, BYU Police.

The professors didn't report the tape recorder until a few weeks later, when more stools, in three other classrooms inside the same building, were also found with Velcro fastened to the bottom.

"They tried to play it back and they inadvertently erased a portion of it," Lemmon said. "We do have in our possession the memory card out of it and we sent it to our tech people and they are trying to restore whatever was or is on there."

The tape recorder was purchased inside the BYU Book Store, according to police.

The Joseph Smith Building is primarily used for religious courses. Students are baffled by who would want to secretly record a class that's already open to everyone.

"It's beyond me why anyone would think they are going to tape somebody secretive, I don't know," said student Garrett Harper.

"This is the religion building so that's a little odd to me that it's only in this building," said student Austin Daw.

Police said under Utah law it's OK to record someone as long as one of the parties knows about the recording. However, if you record a conversation, lecture, etc., without those involved knowing, and then leave, it is illegal, which police believe is what happened in this particular case. The person responsible is facing a misdemeanor.