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Surveillance cameras key to catching criminals

6:41 AM, Oct 22, 2012   |    comments
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(WBBH) -- Hundreds of dollars worth of sunglasses were stolen from a Fort Myers, Florida business and the whole thing was caught on camera.

As police search for crooks, surveillance cameras are helping to shine a brighter light on petty crimes.

Melody Grant of Grant Eyeglasses is no stranger to shoplifters.

"That's the reason we got the cameras because we've had theft in the store before," she said.

Last Friday, the investment paid off as cameras caught two crooks looking for a five finger discount.

"I was disappointed we had our glasses stolen, but excited we had proof of who it was," she said.

Even with signs warning of surveillance cameras, it still wasn't enough to stop the pair from making away with about $750 worth of sunglasses.

Fort Myers Police Detective Brian O'Reilly says this is just the latest in a growing trend of incidents where surveillance cameras have caught criminals in the act.

"It helps us apprehend a lot of suspects. I can't tell you off hand but I know we've had many cases," he said.

And it's not just major crimes.

Petty crimes like Friday's shoplifters are getting more attention and exposure because of video evidence.

"If we find we have a good picture of the suspect or clothing or the getaway car we'll send it to other agencies or even the media," Detective O'Reilly said.

And although you may have cameras in place, it doesn't necessarily mean a criminal will think twice.

"You would think most people would look at a surveillance system as a crime deterrent, but they don't always necessarily think that way," said O'Reilly.

Grant says she knows the chances of finding these thieves are better with the cameras.

Without them, she says, finding the suspects would be almost impossible.

"Not successful at all - just left guessing who stole it," she said.


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