Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Hidden cameras in Bulgarian women's apartment were not recording, deputies say

TAMPA — Hidden cameras found in two Bulgarian women's apartment were not transmitting or recording images when deputies found them, the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office announced Friday.

The Sheriff's Office has closed its investigation, saying there was no evidence the cameras were hooked up to anything.

"The girls were crying when they heard the news," said their attorney, Mark Wright. "They didn't understand it. This should not have happened to them."

When a deputy first arrived at the subleased Westchase area apartment in July, Vanya Samokovareva, 22, and Ralitsa Dzhambazova, 23, were upset about tiny cameras they had found in smoke detectors and motion sensors.

They suspected their landlord — Nadir Punjani, who also uses the name Raj Armani — had set up some elaborate camera system, according to a lawsuit the women filed Wednesday.

The deputy followed the wires to a locked closet, but when they opened it, the camera wires didn't appear to be connected to anything, said sheriff's Detective Larry McKinnon.

The Sheriff's Office has previously reported that between the deputies' first inspection and second a day later, some of the electronic equipment had been removed. However, that did not affect the investigation because the first investigation didn't reveal any evidence of a crime, McKinnon said. The only thing that had been taken was a television, McKinnon said. He said the Sheriff's Office doesn't know why cameras had been hidden.

"But from the evidence we had, from the time deputies got there, they were never capable of recording," he said.

Detectives did find evidence that Punjani — or someone using his e-mail account — had posted an ad on Craigslist, requesting assistance installing hidden cameras that would have playback and remote viewing capability, a sheriff's report states.

From the start, Punjani, 32, has declined to comment.

Wright said the Sheriff's Office determination about the case doesn't help the women's lawsuit, but it doesn't defeat it.

Earlier this week, they filed a petition for injunction. They also sued for invasion of privacy, negligence, breach of contract and intentional infliction of emotional distress.

Times staff writer Dan Sullivan contributed to this report. Jessica Vander Velde can be reached at (813) 226-3433 or

Hidden cameras in Bulgarian women's apartment were not recording, deputies say 09/09/11 [Last modified: Saturday, September 10, 2011 12:29am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Palm Beach County State Attorney Dave Aronberg and ex-cheerleader Lynn Aronberg finalize their divorce


    In announcing that her divorce was settled this week, Lynn Aronberg said the reason for the split in part was because she supports President Donald Trump and her Democratic husband does not.

    Dave and Lynn Aronberg were married on St. Pete Beach in May 2015.
  2. A trip down memory lane of Bucs' preseason expectations


    With HBO's Hard Knocks in town and the Bucs opening training camp Friday with their highest expectations in a decade, here's a look back at Tampa Bay's preseason expectations since their last playoff appearance in 2007 — and the results.


    Jameis Winston and running back Peyton Barber celebrate a touchdown last season against the 49ers. [LOREN ELLIOTT | Times]
  3. Boy Scouts apologize over Trump's remarks at jamboree


    Facing an angry backlash from parents and former members, the chief executive of the Boy Scouts of America apologized on Thursday for political remarks made by President Donald Trump at the organization's national jamboree this week, during which the commander-in-chief crowed over his election victory, attacked the news …

    President DonaldTrump, front left, gestures as former boys scouts, Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke, left, Energy Secretary Rick Perry, watch at the 2017 National Boy Scout Jamboree at the Summit in Glen Jean, W.Va. Boy Scouts president Randall Stephenson told the Associated Press on Wednesday, July 26, in his first public comments on the furor over President Donald Trump's speech on Monday that he'd be "disingenuous" if he suggested he was surprised by the Republican president's comments. [Associated Press]
  4. Drones restrictions coming at Tampa Bay area airports


    Starting Sept. 1, Tampa International Airport officials will be enforcing new height restrictions for drones and other unmanned aircraft systems, according to a press release.

    In this February 2017 file photo, a drone flies in Hanworth Park in west London. Starting Sept. 1, Tampa International Airport officials will be enforcing new height restrictions for drones and other unmanned aircraft systems,
[John Stillwell/PA via AP, File]
  5. Hit-run driver who refused to leave van threatened to shoot, Hillsborough deputies say

    Public Safety

    TAMPA — Eddie Carly Colon Soto peeked his head out the broken side window of his van as a SWAT team closed in.

    The driver of this van tried to flee the scene of a crash in north Tampa Thursday morning until he could travel no farther, the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office said. Then he refused to leave the van and threatened sheriff's deputies, they said. [TONY MARRERO   |   Times]