Home security camera helps police catch thief

February 20, 2013 7:14:21 PM PST
Some simple technology helped police identify a man they believe is responsible for a brazen daylight theft. It turns out, he was caught on camera ripping off a UPS package from the doorsteps of an Alameda home.

Most online shoppers have their packages delivered to their home. Damon Paiz is one of them.

"There was a larger package and a smaller package on top," said Paiz.

But he can't always be home when packages are due to arrive and thieves know it. Alameda police used surveillance video to identify the man they say stole a package from Paiz's home in the middle of the day.

"Before he came up, he looked around, didn't see anything amiss, went to my door and took the package," said Damon Paiz, a theft victim.

The man in the video cases the house with a friend, quickly moves to the door, grabs the smaller box and scurries away. The whole thing was captured on Paiz's home surveillance system.

"We think we have a positive identification," said Alameda Police Department Lt. Ted Horlbeck.

Because of the cameras mounted outside his home, police were able to get a clear picture to the public and identify their suspect. They say package thieves act quickly following delivery trucks and making their move as soon as the driver clears the area. Most are looking for high-end merchandise and electronics. They're always looking to take advantage of those at work or away from home.

"Without the homeowner having had the video surveillance equipment, the suspect more than likely would've gotten away with this," said Horlbeck.

Home surveillance video is catching criminals in other places too. A woman was busted for stealing packages off of the porch of a house in Fremont, after investigators identified her from these images.

"You want the video camera to get a good quality usable video of the perpetrator," said Randy Reed from Reed Brothers Security.

Family-owned Reed Brothers Security, in Oakland, specializes in home protection. They have cameras that range from the obvious to the inconspicuous. In the last five years, they've seen a spike in the number of people turning to cameras for home security, but they have a warning.

"The problem with cameras is you get what you pay for," said Reed.

Home cameras can range in price and ability, low-light cameras may work best at night, and high-definition cameras take a better picture and according to Reed, most come with technology that's easy to use.

"If you're able to send a text message, if you know how to get on the Internet, you're good," said Reed.

The image can be sent to your laptop or any wireless device, including your smartphone.


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