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Hidden camera found outside of Temecula home, raising safety concerns of residents

Temecula neighbors disturbed to find hidden camera in front yard of their home
Temecula neighbors disturbed to find hidden camera in front yard of their home 03:01

Another Southern California community has cause for concern after a hidden camera was found planted in one neighborhood, an issue that they fear isn't being taken seriously by law enforcement. 

The discovery was made early last week at a home in the Crowne Hill neighborhood, underneath some branches in a fake bush that was planted in the person's yard. 

Image of the hidden device and the fake bush that was concealing it in the front yard of a Temecula home. 

A wireless transmitter was connected to the back of the phony plant, likely feeding live images to an unknown location, which has the homeowners, who wish not to be identified, living on edge. 

"They have a target, I'm afraid it's children," they said. "I personally think this is for kidnapping. Why would this device be here? Why would these guys go through so much trouble to surveillance someone? Why would they want a live feed of this?"

Security cameras from another home in the neighborhood show the moments that two men wearing masks are dropped off by a black Toyota Sienna Thursday evening. 

"Black COVID masks and white grocery bags cause they're carrying something," the homeowner said. "Looked very out of place."

They briefly left the area when another neighbor went outside of their home, only to return a few minutes later. 

Neighbors quickly began to alert each other once the device was found, as well as filed a report with the Riverside County Sheriff's Office. 

Deputies responded to the area, along with a bomb squad to ensure that the device wasn't an explosive. The entire street was evacuated for the investigation, but since then, neighbors say they haven't heard much. 

"Very little has been done since then," they said. "There's a lot of information they can pursue."

The disturbing discovery comes just days after an eerily similar situation in Chino Hills, where a camera disguised as a rock was found hidden under a pile of leaves across the street from one woman's home. 

Legal experts say that though troubling, there isn't much that can actually be done. 

"There's something creepy about it, obviously, but we're on camera ll the time," said Trusted Sec security expert Alex Hamerstone. 

He says that since the crime itself is small it's difficult to prosecute. 

"There may be a littering charge or something like that, or the cameras may be involved in a bigger investigation," he said. "But, directly as far as it being a crime, generally there's not gonna be much for police go after there."

The neighborhood isn't so sure that this isn't part of a much bigger scheme. 

"Whether or not there's evidence enough to charge them is a completely separate issue," the homeowner said. "This an organized effort to come and commit a crime and we need to know what that is and what their intentions are."

In the meantime, they're hopeful that others in the area will check their own yards to see if there's more of the same to be found, especially so they can go back to living their lives on a normal basis. 

"No children are coming out to play anymore, they're inside they're not allowed to leave their homes," he said. "We have a credible threat, so we can't risk putting our children out front."

Several neighbors are expected to make an appearance at the Temecula City Council meeting Tuesday evening to discuss the matter and seek further assistance from city leaders. 

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