Albany -- An inexpensive home surveillance system caught copper thieves red-handed. With the help of Southeastern Aluminum Recycling and Albany Police, the suspects were busted.
In less than two minutes two brazen thieves pulled up, jumped the fence, and made off with armloads of wire from a West Albany backyard.
"My husband is sporadically here and he might come home and go back and sometimes I come by here at different times throughout the day so they were just taking a big chance," said Amy Reno.
The thieves never knew they were caught on tape. The Renos bought an inexpensive "watch dog," two small wireless cameras for the shed that connect to a TV and VCR they already had. Nearly a month when by, nothing. In the middle of May, the system paid off, Amy's husband caught the two thieves on tape.
"He told me to call the police and back up the spy cam," Amy said. Amy brought that tape to Southeastern Aluminum Recycling, they recognized the suspects right away.
"We took the time to watch the video tape and I recognized the two guys that had broke into her house or her back yard, they had sold some over here," says Amelia Coe of Southeastern Aluminum Recycling.
Using Southeastern's surveillance, police were able to confirm it was the same suspects, 28-year-olds Ashley Davis and Andrew Steen, wearing the same clothing they stole the copper in.
"We take a photo ID of them when they come in with their driver's license. We get their tag number, we ask them where the material comes from," said Coe.
Having the camera's has given Amy Reno a little piece of mind. "I think everybody needs one just for their own protection, whether they're stealing copper or anything in your yard, I mean they just should be there."
Reno hopes the video makes thieves think twice before victimizing someone else. Southeastern Aluminum Recycling makes weekly reports of copper sales and air conditioner coils to police.
They turn over information on their customers and say they were happy they could help the Renos make their case.