Complaint: Madison East teacher had cameras hidden in air fresheners, smoke alarm

David Kruchten (Source: Dane Co. Sheriff's Office)
David Kruchten (Source: Dane Co. Sheriff's Office)(NBC15)
Published: Feb. 5, 2020 at 5:55 PM CST
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The Madison East High School teacher facing federal child pornography charges for placing three recording devices into female students’ hotel rooms during a Minneapolis field trip, according to the criminal complaint against him.

The teacher, David Kruchten, is looking at three new felony counts of interfering with the privacy of a minor in Minnesota on top of the seven felony charges already levied against him in a federal court. Each of those state charges carry a maximum sentence of two years in prison and a $5,000 fine.

According to the complaint, the three recording devices were hidden in a pair of air fresheners sitting on bathroom shelves and a smoke detector placed in the bathroom at shower height and facing the shower. They were reportedly discovered on Sunday, Dec. 8, when one of the girls pressed a button she thought would spray the room and, instead, the device opened up to reveal the hidden camera.

Investigators say Kruchten was the one who then took the air fresheners to the desk of the hotel where they were staying, the Hyatt Regency, at 1300 Nicollet Mall, in Minneapolis, early in that morning. Hotel staff recounted to officers he told them the devices were found in a cabinet. At the time, the police were not called.

It was after parents started calling and telling them that cameras were placed in various spots of their daughters’ hotel rooms and were put there the previous day that they realized they were the ones Kruchten had turned in, the report said. When detectives spoke to Kruchten, he allegedly told him the students found the canisters and smoke alarm and mentioned thermostats he had taken off the walls. Investigators determined the alarm and thermostats were not turned in. When they asked Kruchten, he reportedly claimed he gave them to a security guard and gave a description that did not match the security guards’ uniforms. Security also said they had no one dispatched to that floor that night.

According to the complaint, hotel security also ran an audit on hotel key cards and finding and finding a key given to advisors was used at times when the advisors knew the girls would not be there. There were also several unsuccessful attempts to access the rooms, indicating to investigators that, while the individual knew one of the keys would work, they did not know which one.

Hotel footage also allegedly showed that while Kruchten said he would hand in the canisters before midnight on Dec. 7, he did not actually make it to the hotel desk until after 1:30 p.m. Other cameras captured him outside in that time, walking with a box of air fresheners, police noted.

When detectives searched his phone, they found evidence he had gone to a website that sold devices similar to the ones used in the hotel room and they later said he had an account to be issued, the complaint said.

With Kruchten currently in Wisconsin facing the federal charges, the State of Minnesota has requested a warrant be issued for his arrest.