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School officials say hidden recorder found at Snead State

ALBERTVILLE (AP) — A hidden listening device was found in the office of the head of the Snead State Community College's maintenance department, school officials said.

Interim President Lavell Thrasher said a mini-cassette tape recorder — without a cassette — was found secured with Velcro under the desk of Steve Williams, director of Custodial and Maintenance Services, on Oct. 3.

After consulting with attorneys for the Alabama two-year college system, he alerted the FBI.

"This is the craziest thing," Thrasher said. "I have no idea why anyone would want to listen in on conversations in that office. But since there's a possibility a federal law had been broken, I contacted the FBI."

Williams said a co-worker found the recorder in the office, which has a computer and printer and is used by a lot of different people.

Like Thrasher, Williams said he had no idea why anyone would want to record his conversations or telephone calls.

He speculated the recorder might have been placed there to record conversations from someone other than himself.

"I've been doing employee evaluations lately in that office," said Williams, a 21-year employee of Snead. "Some of the people who were evaluated have worried if their privacy has been violated. That office is never locked, but the cabinet with personnel files is always locked."

Both Williams and Thrasher said they had not yet been contacted by any law enforcement personnel. No extra security has been added to the maintenance building.

Copyright 2005 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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