NewsLEX 18 Investigates


'We've got a problem': Apple Watch helps expose contractor's alleged invasion of privacy

Apple TattoGate
Posted at 9:52 PM, May 09, 2022

LEXINGTON, Ky. (LEX 18) — A woman's Apple Watch helped expose a MetroNet contractor's alleged plan to obtain pictures of a sensitive nature from her phone, the woman's husband told LEX 18.

Philip VanWingerden said in late March, the contractor arrived at his family's new home to complete a transfer of service request. He said his wife was home with his sister while he was at work an hour away.

VanWingerden said the contractor, who Lexington Police have since identified as Robert Chandler, asked for VanWingerden's wife's cellphone, to purportedly check the internet connection. He told LEX 18 she assumed this was a routine request and gave it to him before he walked to a different part of the house.

"Little known to him," he recalled. "Her watch was connected to her phone."

VanWingerden said his wife's Apple Watch was providing notifications that messages were being sent from her phone number to an unknown number. Police have since confirmed that the number belonged to Chandler.

"What was being sent was obviously, I would say, explicit or very sensitive information that married couples may have on their phone," VanWingerden said.

VanWingerden said his wife then called him at work.

"[She was] not hysterical but concerned," VanWingerden recalled. "Like, 'Hey, you need to come home. It's about the MetroNet installer. We've got a problem.'"

VanWingerden called the police, but Chandler had allegedly left. When officers arrived, Chandler had apparently returned to the neighborhood.

Lexington Police said an officer confronted Chandler, who allegedly admitted to sending four images and two videos to his personal cellphone.

Chandler has been charged with the distribution of sexually explicit images without consent and unlawful access to a computer in the fourth degree.

VanWingerden said an investigator told him Chandler has done this to other women. LEX 18 reached out to Lexington Police to inquire about Chandler's past, but we have not heard back.

VanWingerden said MetroNet was initially helpful, but since then, he and his wife have not heard anything from them. They did receive one thing from the company: a bill for the service.

"I think the least they could do is knock that bill off," VanWingerden said. "But aside from that, I think just making sure they're doing a better job of vetting their employees and who they're choosing as contractors."

MetroNet statement:

"In late March, we were made aware of a disturbing allegation regarding a contractor working on our behalf. We immediately shared that allegation with the contract company and that contractor was terminated. We stand ready to cooperate fully with local law enforcement to assist them in their investigation of this matter. The contractor’s alleged behavior is unacceptable. We will be reaching out to our customer to work with them on this matter."