OAK HILL, WV (WOAY) – An Oak Hill man turned himself in on Wednesday after being charged with 30 counts of misdemeanor criminal invasion of privacy.
Brian Lanham, 33, was arrested following an investigation where Oak Hill Police found evidence on Lanham’s phone that he allegedly filmed 11 women tanning at Bee Bronze Tanning in Oak Hill, a tanning salon which resides in a multi-business building most know as The Hive.
The investigation began on Friday as a customer filed a complaint alleging that she had been filmed by an employee while tanning. From there, Detective Sgt. James R. Pack with OHPD, says the police took immediate action.
“We went down and obtained an individual, Brian Lanham’s cellular device. Mr. Lanham came up and consented to a search of that device and upon that download, we found multiple videos of female individuals that were tanning,” he said.
These women were filmed on varying dates. Fayette County Prosecuting Attorney Jeff Mauzy called it a “heinous crime” and says his heart goes out to the business owner and her family as she is also the suspect’s wife and was one of the women who was filmed.
“Having these things brought into their life and they’re, you know, exposed to all the public attention, and they didn’t have anything to do with any of this,” Mauzy said.
Jennifer Lanham, the owner and the suspect’s wife, says she was blindsided when she found out on Friday that police had received a complaint, and she was hoping it was just a misunderstanding, but when they returned to her business that day and she got the confirmation, she said it was a mix of anger, sadness and confusion.
“It is the worst mental and physical pain I’ve ever endured in my life,” Jennifer said. “The first day I was in shock, and I mourned my marriage. And I just couldn’t – and I was just confused because I would have never dreamed he was capable of doing that.”
In the days following, Jennifer cooperated with police. She said the day after the investigation began, she went into work, sealing off all access points to the tanning rooms and even putting in a new ventilation system so the rooms would no longer need the open space at the top, which she believes is where he allegedly filmed from.
Jennifer says she has received an outpouring of support from the community, and she says she hopes by sharing her story, customers will know that she had nothing to do with it and that something like this could happen to anyone, anywhere.
“We’ll do everything, anything we can do to protect everybody that comes through this business,” Jennifer said. “This was never — This wasn’t the business. It was a person.”
Each count on Brian Lanham’s charges carries the weight of up to a year in prison and a maximum fine of $5,000 for each charge.
The Oak Hill Police Department is currently investigating a complaint of customers being videoed while tanning at the Bee Bronze tanning salon located on Central Ave. in Oak Hill.
The complaint was filed when one of the customers noticed what she believed to be someone using a cellphone to video her as she was in the tanning room.
Oak Hill officers immediately responded to the location and seized the suspected cell phone. Through the investigation, it was determined that the cell phone did, in fact, contain multiple videos of customers who were unknowingly being videoed.
Brian Lanham, 33, from the Gatewood Road area of Oak Hill and Fayetteville, is being charged with numerous counts of Criminal Invasion of Privacy, which is a misdemeanor, carrying up to a year in jail and a maximum fine of up to 5,000 dollars for each charge.