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Suspended reporter charged in bathroom privacy case

ROCHESTER — As part of an ongoing investigation, police arrested a Dover man Thursday afternoon after a hidden camera was found in a bathroom at Merchants Plaza office building earlier this month.

Conor Brendan Makem, 45, of 5 West Concord St., Dover, was charged with one count of felony falsification of physical evidence and a dozen counts of misdemeanor invasion of privacy.

On Oct. 7, a woman reported that she noticed an “eraser-sized” device in a ceiling of the second-floor bathroom of the office building at 1 Old Dover Road, which houses a bureau for Foster’s Daily Democrat and The Rochester Times along with several other businesses.

The woman alleged Makem removed the device, which he threw into a nearby dumpster, and told her he would call police. Because police did not recover the device, they could not determine whether it was a camera or a red light, as Makem believed, according to court records.

Three days later, police obtained a warrant to seize Makem’s cell phone, a camera, flash drives and some computers from the newspaper office.

Afterwards, Makem, who has worked for The Rochester Times for the past decade, was suspended by Foster’s, which owns the weekly newspaper.

Makem, who was taken into custody Thursday afternoon was held in Strafford County Jail in Dover on $10,000 cash bail. He is scheduled to be arraigned Friday.

Falsifying physical evidence is a felony, which could yield up to … in prison. Each count of invasion of privacy is a Class A misdemeanor which could result in a year in jail.


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