HOUSTON – Even though it's a public place, using a convenience store restroom is supposed to be a private experience.
But a Houston woman is claiming she was spied on and recorded at a gas station rest stop in west Harris County this past weekend.
"It's really scary," says Ashley Hawkins. "I never thought something like this would happen to me. It's really shocking, honestly."
Hawkins said she was on her way to work early Saturday morning when she and a friend stopped at a Valero near I-10 and Mason Road.
She said when the station attendant told her he needed to clean the restroom before she went inside, she grew suspicious. But she went in when the attendant went back into the store.
"I look(ed) everywhere," recalls Hawkins. "I look(ed) under the towels that were on the floor, under the sink. Everywhere, to see if there's anything."
She says she didn't find anything, but when she was finished using the restroom she noticed a hole in the trash can.
"I didn't expect to see a light when I opened the trash can," she says. "But it was the phone, taped. The camera was facing. It was the back camera and front screen was facing forward, and it was recording."
Hawkins says she grabbed the phone, left in anger and turned in the phone to investigators at the Harris County Sheriff's Office.
She now has advice for other women, and for parents of young children: "Always check your surroundings. Make sure you're aware of your surroundings."
Channel 2 tried several times to speak to the manager who works at the store and to Valero's corporate headquarters but we received no response.
The Harris County Sheriff's Office is investigating the case.
They have the phone and the trash can that were allegedly used to make the recording.