Fla. firefighter charged with voyeurism
Orange County Fire Rescue relieved Steven Brandenberger of duty after he was accused of setting up cameras in his roommate’s bathroom and bedroom
By Tess Sheets
ORLANDO, Fla. — An Orange County firefighter was relieved of duty Tuesday after he was arrested in Seminole County on voyeurism charges, an Orange County Fire Rescue spokeswoman said.
Steven Brandenberger, 38, faces charges of eavesdropping and video voyeurism of a person older than 19, court records show. He was arrested Monday by Seminole deputies, accused of setting up cameras inside air vents of his roommate’s bathroom and bedroom, according to a warrant affidavit.
Brandenberger has been employed by OCFR since July 2006, the agency said. In a statement, OCFR spokeswoman Carrie Proudfit said the charges “are in direct contrast to the core mission and values of the Orange County Fire Rescue Department.”
She added, “[a]n administrative hearing will be scheduled to review the circumstances of his arrest and determine his immediate employment status with the Department.”
Seminole deputies were called to Brandenberger’s Oviedo home July 9 after his roommate reported finding two hidden cameras: one in her bathroom, facing her shower, and another facing her bed, Deputy Kimberly Moore wrote in the affidavit.
The woman said her friend was using her bathroom two days earlier when he noticed one of the devices in the vent. The friend sent her a photo of the camera, but by the time she returned home, the camera was gone, she told authorities, according to the affidavit.
“There was however a drilled hole left, where it was,” Moore wrote in the affidavit. “Inside this hole were wired which were attached to more wires that lead into the attic. There was also what looked like a microphone or small camera in the hole which she disconnected and took out.”
The roommate said she checked the air vent in her room and discovered another camera facing her bed. She covered the lens with a post-it note until Brandenberger left for work and began packing her things to move out of the house, the affidavit shows.
When Brandenberger and his mother, who owns the home, questioned why she was leaving, the woman said she told them about finding the cameras. Brandenberger told his mother the devices were “just sensors,” the roommate told authorities, according to the affidavit.
Brandenberger’s mother “believes the cameras were wired into the home’s security system that [Brandenberger] monitors, as the cords went up to the attic,” Moore wrote in the affidavit.
Brandenberger’s disciplinary history includes a tardiness violation that resulted in a verbal warning and a dashboard camera violation, for which he was disciplined with a written reprimand, Proudfit said in an email.
Brandenberger is being held at the Seminole County jail without bail.
©2019 The Orlando Sentinel (Orlando, Fla.)