Winery Owners Face Wiretapping Charges

HAMILTON TOWNSHIP -- Owners of a winery in the Poconos are facing felony charges after their business was raided.

Authorities raided Mountain View Vineyards Wednesday morning and took away the owners in handcuffs.

Linda and Randy Rice own the winery in Hamilton Township and are now facing felony charges of wiretapping.

Authorities say they were recording audio of customers and employees without their knowledge.

The Monroe County district attorney's office, along with county detectives, raided Mountain View Vineyards outside Stroudsburg.

Detectives took away brown paper bags and looked through awnings at the winery's location in Hamilton Township.

Owners Linda and Randy Rice were then taken away in handcuffs and arraigned in East Stroudsburg on felony charges of wiretapping.

"We own an alcohol establishment. We thought that was our right to make sure that no one was stealing alcohol," said Linda Rice.

According to investigators, the couple had four security cameras that recorded both audio and video.

Two were outside on the patio where customers sit. Two others were inside in the tasting room and the barrel room.

Nowhere on the property did the owners display signs saying they were recording audio, which is required by law.

"We did not know that we needed to put up a sign and that is all there is to it," Rice added.

Authorities say hundreds of audio and video recordings of customers and employees were also found on Randy Rice's cell phone.

The couple was released after they were booked at the Monroe County Prison. They're due back in court next month.

52 comments

  • Carl

    I’m sure they aren’t the only ones to record audio and video, they just got caught. Wonder how??……..So it’s a felony if citizens do it, but big brother records our cell phone conversations, so that’s ironic.

  • released on a technicality

    Wiretapping: the practice of connecting a listening device to a telephone line to secretly monitor a conversation.

    • Gary Zafia

      This had nothing to do with a telephone. They should have not been arrested. That D.A. screwed up big time.

  • Gary Zafia

    We have some stupid laws in Pa. You should be able to protect your business or home by recording. We need to do everything we can to stop the stealing that goes on. The problem is the law favors the crooks.

  • Jayboneski

    With all the real crime going on these days, what with NEPA becoming a haven for dopers and violent criminals, you would think a warning would have been sufficient in this case. But, yeah let’s focus on prosecuting a hard-working couple trying to protect their investment. Barney probably drove past 12 meth factories on his way to the jail. Nice job. Very impressive.

    • laura

      This is why I’m betting there’s a big name involved. He had recording devices in a tasting area – that’s for customers, and recordings on his phone. I don’t think it was so innocent and just to protect stock

  • ozzycoop

    Recording video for security purposes is one thing but audio is another. They can sit and listen to the audio over and over and obtain some very personal information about you. You wouldn’t even realize you said anything too sensitive but over the course of a conversation they can piece it together. Even in public you are granted a reasonable amount of personal space.

    • warningfakenews

      Are stingrays used by cops in PA? Did they get a warrant each time? Did the warrant cover innocent people who just happened to go into the affected cell? Aren’t they committing a felony if they don’t?

      Cops would NEVER apply this law to themselves.

  • Donamick

    Oh brother
    in the meantime
    the guys stealing ATMs and yanking him through the front of people’s businesses for the 10th time are still on the loose!!

  • Writer Girl

    So they think just because they own a business, that gives them permission to record people? Security cameras are one thing, but audio is another. Apparently, this type of thing is illegal in PA, which you think they would have discovered, in the course of starting a business.

  • laura

    Anyone else find this a little fishy? My bet is a big name ended up on their recordings but we’ll probably never here about that……

    • KingstonGuy9

      Very fishy. This day and age with security technology, especially in a business you should know you are being monitored

      • Lord Chesterfield

        I’m sorry I prefer to maintain my expectation of privacy. You can face book your life if you like, I prefer privacy. If I can’t have it, notify me so I can go elsewhere. You may enjoy exhibitionism and voyeurism, I do not!

    • Lord Chesterfield

      Yes, audio recordings where you have a reasonable expectation of privacy is illegal without notice. (Period) That’s the law, if you don’t like it change it. Unchanged in the State of PA it is a felony. Opinions matter not in this case.

  • Lord Chesterfield

    PA is a two party consent state for audio recordings. Now that gets blurred by private, public and where you would have a reasonable expectation of privacy. Notifications of video surveillance and/or audio may be required in areas that are not so clear. We can argue all day here, but it will be the courts that decide this outcome. Very much worth paying attention too.

  • burtfan16

    This is such a great use of resources. Let’s give these agents of law enforcement a big old pat on the back. They arrested a couple trying to protect their inventory. Bravo!

    • ozzycoop

      Such a stupid sweeping statement. Do we ignore all petty and misdemeanor crimes because they’re are major crimes being committed? No we don’t. These people weren’t protecting their business. They were trying to obtain personal information about their employees/customers.

  • Kaitlyn G.

    I would like to know why these two are arrested for the same crime that a school administrator is being accused of and yes he still is working with kids and in charge of the staff that he recorded, something is not right!

  • Chris in PA

    To all those saying there must be more because all businesses record like this. That is not true. Businesses are not permitted to record audio of conversations, phone calls, or other audio, even at a privately owned business. Yes there is surveillance video everywhere, there is no audio recording in those cases…which is why they were charged with wiretapping.

  • Mike Raymond

    This article makes no sense at all. What business these days does not have surveillance equipment? Curious to see who brought these charges. Very curious indeed.

    • concerned commuter

      Businesses record video only. It’s a wire tap felony to record audio without the persons permission.

    • Writer Girl

      I think it’s more the audio that was a problem, along with the video. You’re basically eavesdropping on people who don’t know it, just to see/hear if they plan to rip you off. You’re invading people’s privacy.

  • Taco Salad

    I just assume when I go into any business and many private homes today, that I am being recorded.
    Outside of the restroom, or a hotel, do you really have the expectation of privacy inside someone’s business?
    You can’t even drive down the road in your own car with the expectation of privacy.

    • warningfakenews

      True, and there is no expectation of privacy when in public. If you want privacy, go home and close the blinds, and unplug your Google assistant, Alexa, etc.

    • Roflmao

      Yea, somebody must have gotten caught with their girlfriend here. Or boyfriend, teacher, political figure, or whatever. LOL

Comments are closed.