Thief captured on video by the same police surveillance camera he stole

In one of the more bizarre crime stories to come out of our town, Edmonds police have released video of a thief in the process of stealing one of the network of video surveillance cameras that monitor the downtown Edmonds police station. Even as it was being yanked off the wall, the camera didn’t give up, bravely continuing to record the thief’s actions until a final mighty pull broke the wire and the signal went dead.

The camera was mounted about 10 feet off the ground over a little-used door on the east side of the police station that opens into a sunken walkway adjacent to 6th Avenue North.

“We hardly ever use this walkway ourselves. It’s a very low-traffic area,” explained Edmonds police spokesman Sgt. Shane Hawley. “The thief just sort of went up the wall like Spiderman, braced himself on some moldings, and tore it right off the building.”

Hawley went on to explain that because this camera was in a little-used area and was not routinely monitored in real time, no one noticed it was missing until several weeks after the theft.

“Our surveillance system comprises a large number of cameras, and while most are set up to monitor areas that see high activity such as main public entrances, the parking lot and public walkways, a few like this one are mounted in areas that are little-used,” he added.

While the feeds from the most critical cameras are monitored in real time on standard surveillance system split-screen monitors, there are too many cameras to monitor them all in this way. However, the feeds from all cameras are continuously recorded and archived, allowing police to view recordings after the fact if there appears to be an issue, Hawley said.

“We only learned about this theft when a public works crew found the camera on Sept. 10 in some bushes across the street by Civic Field where the thief had apparently discarded it,” he continued. “We went back to check the recording, and sure enough, there was the thief in action in the final few minutes of video sent by the camera, recorded on July 10.”

Hawley pointed out there is no evidence that the thief disabled the camera as part of an attempt to break into the station.

If you recognize the thief or have any additional information, please contact Detective Ryan Speer at Ryan.Speer@edmondswa.gov.

— Story and photos by Larry Vogel 
Video courtesy Edmonds Police Department 

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