Man arrested after camera found in restaurant bathroom

La Perla manager Hajime Maruyana faces charge of tampering with evidence

By Andrew Perez - Reporter , Amanda Batchelor - Senior Digital Editor

MIAMI - Beyond the outer walls of La Perla, inside the women's bathroom, is where a customer said she found a recording device facing the direction of the restaurant's toilet.

The woman was assisting her child in the bathroom off Southwest 152nd Street and Southwest 137th Avenue Saturday when, according to a Miami police report, she noticed a strange device tucked away under the sink.

She took it apart and took it to her husband at the table. She started researching on her phone to see what it was and determined that it was an advanced motion sensor camera.

"That's a violation. It's a total violation of women's rights," Julio Guzman, who frequents the shopping plaza, said. 

The couple confronted employees before speaking to the manager, Hajime Maruyana.

According to the arrest report, Maruyana, 42, took the device and started walking around. Maruyana then "became very nervous and began to walk around and pace the restaurant as if attempting to get away from or avoid" the victim.

The mother demanded to see what was on the camera as Maruyana walked from the back rooms of the restaurant to the front. She later noticed the camera's memory chip was missing. But Maruyana claims it was never there.

According to the report, Maruyana told the mother "I didn't do it" in Spanish and then walked up to a cook and said, "There isn't a chip in here, right? There's never been a chip in here, right?"

When she said she was calling the police, Maruyana pleaded with her not to and then said, "Well, then I'm calling my mother."

Police were called and arrested Maruyana on charges of tampering with evidence and resisting arrest without violence.

According to the report, Maruyana's attorney had responded to the restaurant before officers arrived. Police said Maruyana refused to answer questions or cooperate with the investigation.

They said the restaurant owner and Maruyana's mother, Luz Maruyana, also refused to cooperate with the investigation and told detectives to get a search warrant.

A search warrant was obtained and surveillance video verified the statements made by the victims, the report said.

Maruyana has since been released on bail.

Local 10 News went to the restaurant trying to get answers, but an employee wouldn't speak about the allegations.

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