Crooks target mounted outdoor home security cameras in San Jose neighborhood

SAN JOSE, Calif. (KGO) -- Many living on Communications Hill in San Jose have their front door covered. Most residents have a number of outdoor security cameras to capture any movement.

For some, their cameras also captured the last moments of being mounted outside.

"It blows my mind that they're grabbing security cameras now," resident Paul Buentello told ABC7 News. "I mean, it makes sense. They're easy to get rid of and a fast sell, but it's crazy. Pretty brazen."

On at least three occasions, separate Communications Hill residents posted to Nextdoor about the crime. It's a twist to the often recorded crime of porch piracy.

However, instead of taking packages, the crooks are getting away with home security cameras.

Resident Dave Baluta's home was targeted in this new trend.

He shared video with ABC7 News, showing someone in a hoodie, approaching his front door with their face covered.

The person reaches out and takes Baluta's Arlo camera in a matter of seconds.

"Your mind starts going crazy," he said. "Did they take it so they can do something later without being on-camera? You know? Okay, we're going to hit this place, let's get rid of the camera and then we'll go in."

Baluta said he and his wife were home when the thief hit at around 2 p.m. onDec. 21.

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They had the camera up and untouched for about a year before the incident.

"It was wireless, so I knew that someone could take it," he said. "But I just figured hey, it's wireless, they'll be on camera. We'll get 'em, right? I didn't really expect them to be this bold."

Baluta filed a police report with the San Jose Police Department.

Down the street, another neighbor's camera captured a man strolling by with what appears to be some sort of rod. The object was long enough to access a camera placed out-of-the-way.

That neighbor shared the footage with ABC7 News.

"A day later, this guy says, 'Well, I placed it out of reach, but the guy had a selfie stick with the magnet and just reached up and got it, and walked away,'" Baluta described.

Now, other neighbors are reconsidering camera placement outside their own homes.

"I guess we got some more precautionary stuff that we got to take care of," Shiva Vashishat said.

With the transforming crime trend, residents on Communications Hill say they're doing what they can to avoid falling victim.

"You just push a button and everything comes to your front door," Buentello told ABC7 News. "Everybody knows that. So, you just got to sit and wait and see what comes on."

ABC7 News reached out to SJPD's public information officers. The PIO said they were not aware of the issue, and did not have access to stats.
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