Alleged Starbucks Bathroom Snooper Caught by Own Camera, Documents Suggest

Courtesy Contra Costa Superior Court documents

Steven John Novelli of Walnut Creek was arrested earlier this month for allegedly placing hidden cameras in the restroom at the Starbucks in downtown Walnut Creek, California. The alleged events occurred in June and July of 2022. The Walnut Creek police are asking residents to reach out if they were at the Starbucks on those dates.

Now, court records indicate that Novelli has been charged with 83 Misdemeanor and Felony counts, including creating child pornography.

New details suggest that Novelli was caught by his own camera. Novelli allegedly set up cameras in the Starbucks restroom, which were discovered by employees and reported to the police. Upon a review of the footage on those cameras, investigators reportedly discovered images of Novelli himself, according to court documents.

Although all the details have not yet been revealed, it appears that Novelli’s alleged inadvertent selfies may have led police to him, allowing them to crack open the case and make an arrest.

If you have information about the case or you were at Starbucks (in the 1300 Block of North Main Street–the store downtown) on the dates mentioned above, you can email Detective Tyler Bertolozzi at or call the Walnut Creek non-emergency number.

The next major event in the case is a hearing scheduled for September 28. Subscribe to the Bay Area Telegraph newsletter to get updates on the case, as well as original, hyper-local Bay Area news stories in your inbox daily, for free

Thomas Smith

Thomas Smith is a food and travel photographer and writer based in the San Francisco Bay Area. His photographic work routinely appears in publications including Food and Wine, Conde Nast Traveler, and the New York Times and his writing appears in IEEE Spectrum, SFGate, the Bold Italic and more. Smith holds a degree in Cognitive Science (Neuroscience) and Anthropology from the Johns Hopkins University.

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