Video records camera thief in action

January 4, 2013 12:00:00 AM PST
A man told Action News his security equipment was ripped off several times in the past few months at his home in Northwest Fresno. Two incidents were recorded as the crook or crooks pulled the cameras right off the home.

A Fresno security firm said the safety of home surveillance cameras differs based on the design. Security cameras are becoming bigger targets for criminals even while they're recording.

A man approaches the Northwest Fresno home. His plan was simple and his work was quick. "He came out, walked right toward the camera just as if he was getting the newspapers? cut the camera, walked off... kinda said goodbye and it was irritating," said homeowner Walter Winnat.

Winnat said he installed the cameras a while back, not out of fear but more for curiosity of what goes on around his house when he's not there.

"It was kind of funny, in a way because he went to a great deal of surveillance to figure out what he needed," Winnat said.

A few minutes before the theft, the video shows a man appear to check out the house, he leaves, and then reappears a few minutes later with a stepstool in hand. Then, the camera is gone.

"We see a lot of videos where it literally shows the person stealing the cameras," said Shad Bethke, vice president of Future Home Systems and Design.

"We've done a lot of redoes on systems that have been vandalized or stolen," Bethke said. "It's just a sign of the times."

Bethke said some cameras are easier to steal as they provide a good grip in order to break the mount. So, he often recommends another type of camera. "These cameras are unique because they mount flat on the wall," he said, referring to dome cameras. "But there's really no way to grasp on the camera and pull it off."

As for Winnat, he's upset his cameras are gone and is looking to install new ones. He's also hoping his neighbors take this warning seriously. "Watch your neighborhood, watch your door," Winnat said. "If you see him walking by, you never know if he's going to take anything that's yours. Obviously, he doesn't care if it's yours. If he wants it, he's going to take it."

The stolen cameras cost him several hundred dollars. He's filed a report with the Fresno Police Department and he will be sending them his security footage.