Landlord Admits Spying on Women With Cameras Hidden in Smoke Detectors

By Pat Collins
|  Wednesday, Apr 17, 2013  |  Updated 11:07 AM EDT
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A Chevy Chase man has pleaded guilty to spying on young women who rented rooms from him. News4's Pat Collins reports.

A Chevy Chase man has pleaded guilty to spying on young women who rented rooms from him. News4's Pat Collins reports.

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A Maryland landlord admitted in court Tuesday to hiding cameras inside smoke detectors in rooms her rented to women.

“He’s a modern day peeping Tom,” Montgomery County state’s attorney spokesman Ramon Korionoff said. “He stole not only these women’s privacy, he stole their peace of mind.”

Dennis Alan Van Dusen rented rooms in his house in Chevy Chase at favorable rates to attractive young women and filmed them when they were with their boyfriends using the hidden cameras, police said.

“You feel betrayed you were watched by someone you were supposed to trust,” one victim said.

She read an article in Cosmopolitan about landlords using fake smoke detectors to spy on female tenants, so she checked out the detector over her bed and found the camera, then contacted police.

“When I opened it up and saw the camera, the first thing that I saw was a little green hard drive, and I’d recently taken a computer class so I knew that A, a smoke detector doesn’t have a hard drive, and B, what a hard drive looks like,” she said.

Van Dusen, who has a science degree from Penn State, master’s degrees from Harvard and MIT and a law degree from the University of the District of Columbia, pleaded guilty to three peeping Tom misdemeanors and faces 18 months in prison at sentencing July 2.

“I’m obviously disgusted with his behavior and a bit appalled,” the victim said.

Van Dusen is out on $5,000 bond under the conditions that he sees a psychiatrist and that he doesn’t advertise anymore rooms for rent.

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