Thieves get a fair warning at Stephen Whittaker’s house – a red and white sign that tells anyone who sees it that a security camera is recording.
But a thief missed or ignored that sign on August 21 when he parked his electric scooter, walked to Whittaker’s front step and stole a parcel, all in view of the camera.
A suspect was arrested recently and admitted to that and other thefts.
“It wasn’t a deterrent, unfortunately,” Whittaker said, adding that he installed the camera following other parcel thefts. Inside the parcel shown on the video was about $500 worth of music accessories that he had ordered for customers of his small business.
What is fortunate is the help Whittaker got after he emailed the video to police and posted it on an online forum for residents of the Upper Beaches Estates housing development near Main Street and Gerrard Street East.
“Once I put out the posting, all of a sudden everyone was saying they’d lost this and that and the next thing,” Whittaker said. “It seems to have gone on for a while.”
Soon, one of the people who saw the video online recognized the thief on Gerrard Street and contacted Whittaker, who came by and saw not the thief, but his electric scooter. He took a photo, saw that the scooter matched the one in the video, and phoned police.
On the phone, police at 55 Division asked Whittaker to email a still photo of the theft video directly to officers in a nearby patrol car, who quickly made the arrest.
Whittaker said he is pleased with how quickly police answered his call and made use of the video.
“They took it very seriously, and they responded immediately,” he said.