tv MSNBC Investigates MSNBC October 23, 2011 10:00am-11:00am PDT
that's our report. thanks for watching. i'm john seigenthaler. you are about to become a witness. >> chances are, every robber knows he or she is being taped. >> we asked them what the difference was? >> cameras do catch and help convict criminals every day. >> it's a silent witness. it will not run and high or get a different perspective, and it tell us what it saw from its perspective and it's very unbiased. >> you will look at dozens of crimes from a security camera's
point of view, and see it the way the cops do. >> frequently what happens is people panic. >> you will witness a new wrinkle in surveillance. it's not just a camera, but it's a person watching. >> speaking specifically to the men outside the door. you will not receive any further warning. the police will be dispatched and you will be arrested and cited for press passing. >> it has become a standard piece of security for businesses across the country. the number of crimes caught on tape is staggering, and as a result, law enforcement has learned more from watching and studying them, which is what we are going to do right now. ♪
in ohio, she is working the register and her husband is stocking the shelves when three young men enter, and she is punched immediately, and randy hears her screams, but as he turns to go to her aid, one of the teenagers hits him from behind with a baseball bat. as she struggles to open the cash register, one of the attacker's shoots her in the arm, while the other two continually kick her husband. the robbers get away with the cash but not the crime. the surveillance video of the kim robbery is aired on the local news. a relative recognizes one of the three attackers and turns him
in. the tip leads to the arrest and conviction of all three suspects. ask anybody in law enforcement and they will tell you surveillance video is a powerful weapon for catching the criminal. >> it's becoming a very, very powerful tool. and technology is advancing and allowing us to better adapt and handle video that has been recovered in a crime and use it as an investigative lead or for prosecution. >> but can surveillance cameras help to prevent crime? a theft happens every minute in america, more and more in front of security cameras. a group of thieves defies the cameras and witnesses, and they jump the counter and gather fist fulls of cash in just seconds.
at a golf resort in palm desert, california, the thief pulls up and surveys his chases and gabs the most expensive set of clubs. he is able to cut the alarm and knowing he has time, strolled the aisles exiling a haul of jewelry and electronics totaling more lan $200,000. and then rosemary has interviewed hundreds of criminals, and surprisingly robbers say they are concerned the least of cameras. >> of the robbers that we talked to in prison, fewer than 10% were caught from surveillance cameras. >> but the true value of the camera is deterrence.
>> how many people think about doing something wrong, but don't? it's kind of like we don't have criminals coming into our station and saying, you know, i saw a cop car driving down the road last night or today so i didn't duty robbery. >> still, surveillance cameras only provide a record of the crime. they may help catch the thief, but they can't protect the person behind the county. >> you do not want to get the people that work for you a false sense of security. if they have a false sense of security, they will let down on the measures we know are affective and rely on the camera, for example, in stores we need to have the cash low, and good lighting, and police patrols, and all of these things have proven to be effective. >> while the camera will not always stop the crime, the presence of cameras can detour
the thieves. the man who thought he disabled the surveillance camera didn't know there were 20 of them. and he was caught. he was sentenced to 16 months in a california state prison. >> for over 20 years, we have encouraged business owners to advertise the fact that people are being watched by surveillance cameras. my point is don't lie. make it clear that he is under surveillance, that people are being watched. >> still ahead, the only thing that went right is that the victim did not get killed. an airline has planes and people.
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in tampa, jed sulayman is ringing up a soda, when a man wearing a mask points a silver revolver at him. he brushes the gun aside, he is shot and that's when the convenience store robbery takes a deadly turn. the armed robber appears to yell at sulayman, somehow clutching his neck sulayman staggers to the register and hands the tray of money to the gunman who runs out. customers come to his aid as he dials 911.
>> i've been shot! i've been shot. >> hello! hello! >> i got shot. please help me! >> when did this happen? >> i got shot to save the store. >> but it's too late. sulayman dies two and a half hours later. >> they try to extend to individuals out there, nothing is worth your life. it's not worth fighting over your watch, money in the cash register, what have you. that's replaceable. your life isn't. >> the presence of security cameras couldn't save sulayman's life, but surveillance tape has value beyond evidence of a crime, it's a valuable learning tool. >> surprising the robber or frightening the robber that you can get shot.
>> security expert rosemary erickson views this video of another robbery in sherwood, arkansas, and considers it a good example of what not to do. >> the only thing that went right that the victim did not get killed. >> it's a little before 5 a.m. and thomas lawrence is working the overnight shift when he spots a masked man entering the store. >> sunday nights, as a general rule, are slow. >> lawrence immediately strikes out and grabs the gun. >> what went against the training is that he resisted initially with no immediate threat to him, he began resisting. what was unusual is that the robber came around behind the register. typically they'll stay on the other side of the register which makes it a little bit easier and a little bit less threatening, but he came around behind so they were immediately in a face-to-face confrontation. >> give me the money! give me the money! open it!
you touch the phone, you die! >> open it! open it! >> i'm trying to! i'm trying to! >> open it now! >> i'm trying to! >> i was nervous and he was impatient, highly impatient. he wanted the money and to go and when i couldn't get it on the first sale, he was thinking i was trying to stall and i was trying to get it open so he could take what he wanted and go on. >> frequently what happens is people just panic and they don't remember how to do the most simple things. so we advise employers make it easy like one or two buttons to open the register in the event of a robbery. >> finally, lawrence is able to open the register, but his nightmare isn't over yet. >> lay down! lay down! lay down!
lay down now! turn over! lay down! put your hands behind your head. behind your back! i'm not going to shoot you, lay down! >> i think i was fighting more when he started trying to tie me up and him maybe trying to shoot me. i thought if i can at least be untied, at least i can make some effort to control the situation. >> the reason the robber wants him to lie down is so that they don't chase, they don't follow and they don't see them leaving so they can't say what direction they're going. it's human nature not to want to be tied up. our advice is to still not resist. >> as frightening as the robbery was, it didn't stop thomas lawrence from continuing to work at a convenience store. >> i didn't feel like he was
going to shoot me but maybe just looking in his eyes -- i think he was more scared when the register wouldn't open, and i think that's when he panicked. >> most large convenience store chains have a strict policy, do not fight back and there's good reason. the federal government considers working at a convenience store one of the riskiest jobs in the country. justice department statistics show that more than 300,000 retail workers are victims of workplace violence every year. but even knowing the risks, some convenience store workers feel that they have no other choice, but to fight back. linda brown had been robbed before. >> you just get tired of it. it's too much.
>> at seven in the morning when a customer with a shower rod swings it at her and demands money, brown decides she's had enough. fortified with a butcher knife, brown is able to disarm the would be bandit and runs her out of the store. >> open it! open it! >> at this store, one robber stuffs his pockets with cash as his accomplice searches for his particular brand of cigarettes. when the thief looks down the clerk blind sides him. the robber manages to dive over the counter with the clerk in hot pursuit, but the two robbers are no match for the lone clerk. these workers felt confident confronting the robbers, but experts say their experience should be the exception to the rule. >> almost all robbers say that they are nervous and that's why
it is so important that the victim or potential victim obey the commands, not talk, not stare, not question, not argue, not resist, but just to give up the money. still ahead -- >> speaking specifically to the white males hanging out in front of the store, it is time for you to leave. you've been asked to leave. you will not receive any further warning. the police will be dispatched and you will be arrested and cited for trespassing. leave now! [ inner voice ] establish connection. give me voice control. applications up. check my email and text messages. hands in position. airbags. ten of 'em. perfect. add blind spot monitor. 43 mpg, nice. dependability. yeah. activate dog. a bigger dog. [ male announcer ] introducing the reinvented 2012 toyota camry.
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>> get back! don't move! >> the clerk, shot in the shoulder, flees to the rear of the store. >> get the money! get the money! >> at first, it appears the man dressed in dark clothes is obeying the gunman's orders as he jumps the counter and tries to open the cash register. it seems to be an attempt to fool the clerk. >> please! please! >> but when he reaches beneath the counter, the surveillance video reveals he's no innocent bystander, quickly pocketing cash he finds in a cigar box, but the man in black is not done yet. he raises his hands as if he's being forced to help the gunman and his partner. >> come on, man! please! please! >> the clerk isn't fooled. all three thieves leave without opening the register.
two of the suspects are later identified from the video. >> it's a silent witness. it's not going to run and hide. it's not going to get a different perspective. it will take and tell us exactly what it saw from its perspective and it is very, very unbiased. it's factual data and that's what we're looking for. >> surveillance cameras may record the crime, but by themselves, they can't convict the criminals. in apple valley, california, a bank robber fleeing police takes refuge behind the first open door he finds. >> he had a gun. he shot the cop several times and he had my children. >> holding three children hostage, the robber is able to keep the police at bay. >> because we hadn't heard from him in a while, we feared for their safety and the decision was made to make entry into the apartment. >> the s.w.a.t. team storms the house and rescues the children unharmed. it's clear from the bullet-riddled home that the robber later identified as roy
parker is no ordinary thief. it is the job of san bernardino deputy d.a. karen kim to prosecute him. her best evidence is surveillance video of one of the two bank robberies parker now stands accused of committing. >> i believe it's one of the most important pieces of evidence especially when it captures the actual crime being committed. >> but sometimes the raw video doesn't tell the whole story, especially when a multi-camera surveillance system captures it. kim brings the tape to the san bernardino sheriff's department high tech crime unit where they specialize in enhancing video. detectives used special software that's able to isolate and separate out the images recorded by each camera. >> there are certain elements that we have to show of a crime and the video if it captures the entire robbery scene can help us in establishing the elements of the crime. >> because none of the tellers can testify they saw a weapon, kim needs to establish that
force was used during the robbery. these images of the men jumping the counter bring home the terror for the jury. >> it's very reasonable when somebody's coming at you and demanding money, you don't stop to ask, excuse me, do you have a weapon, before giving them the money. >> the video also shows the robber was wearing white tennis shoes. they left a print on the counter that later matched shoes in roy parker's possession. but the key frames of video evidence she has are these images of the robber with his hands in the till. >> we were able to show the jurors, actually them looking at the defendant at the counsel table and looking at this particular video and they can see it is the same person. >> the jury finds parker guilty. he's sentenced to 86 years to life. but even when it doesn't capture the crime in progress, surveillance footage can be
valuable for investigators. >> this is the individual we're looking at. the i.d. would put him at the store. >> the san bernardino detectives were investigating a string of home breakins. they had a suspect, but needed evidence placing him in the area at the time of the crime, following up on a lead they found him captured on surveillance video at a convenience store at just the right time. >> we had the individual with the baseball cap with what appears to be the letter t. on the top of the baseball cap. >> these give the investigators the edge they need during the interrogation. >> the video became apparent to show other timelines, the video has a date and time stamp and we were able to verify that and it shows the time that he was there. >> investigators showed the print to the suspect and he ended up pleading guilty. >> video surveillance cameras have already proven their value in catching thieves red-handed,
and now the camera is turning into a retail worker's secret weapon. when this interactive technology is triggered, a human set of eyes, ears and voice is added behind the lens. >> speaking specifically to the white male hanging out in front of the store. it is time for you to leave! you've been asked to leave. you will not receive any further warnings. the police will be dispatched. you will be arrested and cited for trespassing. leave now! >> at west tech interactive securities, elena evans is responding to a problem a store is having with loiterers. she's using special two-way surveillance equipment to monitor and respond to this situation as it's happening. >> are they still outside? i can't see them. okay. you can't see them at all anymore? do you think they went away? okay. no problem. if you have further trouble you just let us know, okay? thank you. bye-bye. >> the system is activated when a clerk pushes buttons placed strategically inside a business or squeezes a pendant. >> what this does is it sends a
signal to our system in the store which sends it through a phone line to west tech. >> 30 to 40 seconds later west tech is online looking in. >> you're being monitored and recorded. how is everything tonight? >> we're doing great, thank you. >> and when a theft does occur, employees are instructed to let it happen. don't intervene or resist and when the bandit leaves, hit the alarm. >> the clerk hit their alarm button stating that this individual took two 18-packs of, i believe, it was bud light and didn't pay for them and basically just ran out with the beer. >> in an instant, the intervention specialist is able to retrieve video of the theft from the store's surveillance system. >> that's the proof right there that he didn't pay and you can see him run right by the counter. >> still ahead -- >> we have a green light here.
he's trying to -- he's on the bike. >> the third bike that got tollen, they just took the bike rack apart. the best approach to food is to keep it whole for better nutrition. that's what they do with great grains cereal. they steam and bake the actual whole grain while the other guy's flake is more processed.
when does a thief decide to strike? what does he or she take into account in deciding when or when not to move? one of the best ways to answer these questions is to witness a robbery. take a look at this. in miami, persistence pays off for this bicycle thief. in chicago, a prize just too good to pass up. >> he's going for it. he's going for it. we have a green light here. he's sliding it down the pole. >> and in new york, an easy score. >> he found the brakes and he's heading down. >> three cities, three bike thefts, just a fraction of the 5.5 million bicycles worth more than a billion dollars that are stolen each year. >> i put the drink on the counter.
i turned and the bike was gone again. >> he turned around and he hit me with the sign and got on my bike and rode away. >> the third bike that was stolen, they just took the bike rack apart and stole three bikes at the same time and that's when i started walking to places. >> on the hunt to see just who the thieves are, we took undercover cameras to america's three worst cities for bicycle theft. in miami, we locked this bike to a no parking sign just before midnight. after an hour and a half, a thief shows up. nothing was going to stop him, not the wrong tool, not a cut finger, not even a passing patrol car. he even stops for a few breaks and finally after almost an hour, he gets his prize. in chicago, thieves have a system for finding bikes that are easy to steal. it's called a sucker pole, a no parking sign with a special twist. >> when you come in here and you're in a hurry and you put your lock thinking you're safe
and secure. >> the thieves have removed the bolts at the base of the poll and all they have to do is lift the pole and slide the bike off. >> we locked an expensive mountain bike equipped with a honing device to this pole near the sears tower. the wait wasn't long. in less than ten minutes this man shows up. eric jenkins, a bicycle thief well known to chicago police. >> he's the most brazen by far. >> eric jenkins has been arrested 23 times for theft of bicycles or bicycle parts. he's been convicted nine times and served time in prison. according to one police report jenkins admitted to stealing approximately a bike a week and selling them for $75 to $100. jenkins is cautious. his lookout is at the intersection in case of trouble. deciding the coast is clear, jenkins slowly slides the bike down the pole and lifts the pole up to release the lock. jenkins doesn't get on the bike
right away. >> he's standing there. he's standing there. >> when his lookout gives the okay, the two thieves take off. >> he's east on quincy. >> jenkins looked over his shoulder to see officer jack ramous hone down on him. >> he took me and him between two cars that were moving. it's not something they do normally. it was just that i was so close and i was with him, i guess i was keyed on him until my knee hit the car and threw me off a little bit. he was flying. >> chicago police are now in a game of cat and mouse with the biggest bike thief in town. the tracking device we installed on the bike shows where it's headed, in a chase goes all over the city. after several miles, jenkins rides into this 15-story housing project west of downtown. our tracking device quickly zeros in on the apartment in which jenkins is hiding. >> we're coming in one way or the other.
>> why don't you just open the door! >> but eric jenkins isn't ready to give up. in one last-ditch effort to get away, he jumps out of a fourth story window. he hits the ground, shattering his ankle. >> get up! >> ultimately, jenkins pleads guilty to stealing our bike and serves time in prison. according to kryptonite, a leading lock manufacturer, new york city is the worst for bike thefts. we lock our bike to a tree using a standard cable lock. in less than 15 minutes it catches the eye of a bike messenger later identified as joseph cruz. he circles once to check the lock. ten minutes later, he's back on foot and brazenly pulls out a pair of bolt cutters from his messenger bag. in a matter of seconds, the lock is cut, bolt cutters back in the bag and he's off. cruz doesn't know he's being
followed as he winds through afternoon traffic on his stolen bike. we follow cruz to the messenger service where he works. a few days later, correspondent chris hanson confronts him. >> how are you doing? >> can i show you something? i've got to ask you a quick question. i need to show you something. >> you see that? >> who's that? who's that? keep watching. is that you? keep watching. >> we're trying to -- >> cruz heads off in a hurry, but a few minutes later he's back. >> what made it so easy to steal? >> you -- it was very simple cable. what can i tell you? >> how were you able to break the cable?
>> a cable cutter, anything could have broken that. >> you were carrying cable cutters with you. >> i had a cutter, yeah. i usually carry stuff like that. >> how many bikes have you taken? >> i've never taken any. >> cruz promised to return our bike, but never did. in fact, most stolen bikes are never recovered. according to experts, the best way to secure your bike is to lock both wheels and the frame with a u-lock or heavy chain. still ahead -- >> when they take the old carts off and the garbage, they would actually take liquor, unopened bottles and hide them in garbage bags or other containers. you can almost see the outline of the bottles. americans are always ready to work hard for a better future. since ameriprise financial was founded back in 1894, they've been committed to putting clients first. helping generations through tough times. good times. never taking a bailout. there when you need them. helping millions of americans over the centuries. the strength of a global financial leader.
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with more than 600 million passengers checking nearly a billion suitcases each year, there are bound to be bags that get lost, but some don't end up at the wrong destination, they are stolen. it happened to kyle garrett at the baggage claim. >> actually, i approached the guy and stopped him and said hey, is that your suitcase because i have one that looks just like that and he said, oh, yeah, this is mine. i said check the tags. they all look alike and you have to be careful. i said okay, well, thanks, and i
watched him walk out. >> kyle and his wife jill had no way of knowing that they were just the latest victims of this man, james ringly, a professional thief with a specialty, snatching luggage from baggage carousels. >> he usually entered the terminal near a carousel and walked up to the baggage carousel and removed, indiscriminately, bags from the carousel and walked them to his car and loaded them in and drove away. >> tom is the chief of police at the dallas-ft. worth airport. his office got a tip that wrongly got a suspicious amount of luggage stashed at his house. an investigation revealed that wrongly spent an unusual amount of time in dew. his car was caught on surveillance cameras entering the airport 106 times in just a matter of months. airport police put ringly under surveillance and when they searched his home they found luggage everywhere. >> we determined that it was around a million dollars worth of luggage and contents. >> according to the arrest report, he rented space at a
local flee market where he sold all those bags and anything of value in them. he was sentenced to four years in prison. how can you stop luggage theft? even carrying all your belongings onboard doesn't always work. ironically, the commotion around the security checkpoint, the passengers, guards, metal detectors, x-ray machines and often the police can actually make the job of a thief easier. >> these individuals usually work in teams of three or four individuals. >> at miami international airport lieutenant juan santana's team of detectives investigated what's called a distraction theft at a security checkpoint. >> our victim now realizes his baggage has not gone through and now he's getting somewhat nervous and then he disappears from the frame. >> the victim, a new york jewelry salesman immediately reported to police that his case, containing more than $300,000 in jewels and cash, had disappeared. >> unfortunately, these thieves are very professional and they're talented in what they do. many of them know that a large
number of -- of people that are in the jewelry trade go to a particular place in miami. once they identify that that's a person that they'd like to target then they just follow him, basically, for the entire day and when they have an opportunity and the chance arises, then they'll hit the target. >> here's how the distraction theft worked. the man wearing a yellow shirt and holding a cell phone is watching the target. >> we're guessing that he was talking to the other individuals that were involved in the crime. >> the salesman is detained here as he tries to go through. >> a subject could have possibly been in front of the actual victim and, of course, whatever he had in his pocket set off the machine. at that point the person had to get re-screened once again and that will take two, three minutes sometimes. >> the man in the yellow shirt
passes through ahead of the target and is joined by another member of his team. this man wearing a white shirt. together, they wait for the case, and once it's clear of the x-ray machine the man in the white shirt grabs it. >> instead of carrying it like a normal person. he'll hold it up to his chest so that no one else can see what he's taken. >> the man in yellow does not leave the area immediately. >> he stays behind and basically sees what the victim is going to do when he gets through the machine. >> as the victim looks for his bag, this man walks away with it, followed by the man in the yellow shirt. >> this whole thing took about 45 seconds, believe it or not. we were fortunate enough that the individual -- and they do get greedy, he came back to the airport to rent a vehicle, probably to do the exact same thing. >> less than two weeks later a rental car agent who had attended a law enforcement seminar on how to spot phony identification phoned the police. >> one of my detectives went there and when he started talking to the individual he realized that that was the same person that he had seen a few days prior on the video and then
we brought him in here, we interviewed him and he ended up confessing. >> the man in the yellow shirt was initially charged with grand theft in the first degree, but the charges were dropped. the second man is still at large and the stolen case has not been recovered. airport security is always tight, but all those police officers and guards aren't effective when the problem is behind the scenes. in miami, detectives are watching two men believed to be stealing from their employer, an airline catering company. plagued by repeated shortages of alcohol, primarily from the first class section on international flights, the company asked police to investigate. >> it had probably gone on for the better part of the year. we figured that they were taking this liquor to re-sell it or to give it away to neighbors, to
throw parties, but normally you do things like this for financial gain. >> hillary walker joined the investigation. >> the company hired a private investigation firm and they came down with two employees who were continuously stealing during the course of their investigation. we started doing surveillance on those two particular individuals. >> the employees were watched for more than two months. it appears they stole everything from liquor to toiletry items while they were stocking the first-class cabin. >> when they take the old carts off and the garbage, they would actually take liquor, unopened bottles and hide them in garbage bags or other containers, in the truck, in the containers or another metal box under the truck. >> the thieves would drive the company trucks back to the parking lot area, but then walk around them to see if anyone was watching them. >> they were very cautious or thought they were being cautious by looking at the vehicles that surrounded them and doing these walks almost every time. every time they pulled in. >> the investigators watched as the thieves transferred the loot to their own cars.
while unloading, one of the thieves seemed to forget where he had stashed the goods. >> he thought he had it in the cabin of the truck and now he's back to his car to get it. there it is. in the backseat and that's a relief for him. >> police staking out both employees' homes saw them moving the stolen goods inside. >> here the individuals are going back to his car in front of his house and he's picking up one of the bags that he had removed. you can almost see the outline of the bottles and the weight. they're leaning to one side which gave us the hint that something was heavier. >> after gathering enough evidence to obtain search warrants, police moved in. inside the homes of orlando valencia and jorge moncado they found what looked like a liquor warehouse. >> we recovered a little over $100,000 worth of liquor stashed in closets, cabinets in the refrigerator, everywhere throughout these two houses. >> at least one defendant, he
said he started out taking one or two bottles and after a while it became easy for him to take more and more and gradually over years he said he'd been doing i more and more and gradually over the years, he had been doing it for four years that he just continuously took. >> valencia and mancotto were each sentenced to four months in jail and probation. they were fired. and had to pay restitution of $35,000 apiece. >> it's very difficult to try to disprove something when it's not just verbal. if you have something on videotape, you can't say somebody else was using my face. it's a person committing a crime. it's caught on tape, and that's very important because that's a very conclusive piece of evidence. >> still ahead -- >> takes out a credit card. there's adhesive in her left hand. she's putting a sticky note on the back of that card and on the sticky note are stolen credit card numbers. >> what we find with criminals and robbers is they're
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surveillance cameras are everywhere, in stores, banks, offices, even hovering above public sidewalks, and yet as visible as they are, thieves still think they can beat them, even with signs clearly posted announcing the camera's presence, this brazen thief outside albany, new york, uses his car and a chain to rip off soda machines.
the scheme nets him more than $2,000 but when his photo is shown on local news it nets him 15 seconds of statement and 30 years in jail. kevin gibson decides thaz a disguise is in order. dressed up as abraham lincoln, he robs. >> what we find is they're optimists. in our prison survey, 83% did not think that they would be caught. now, two-thirds of them had already been in prison before, so they knew they were entirely capable of being caught. >> that's because even some of the most ingenious schemes can be cracked when a surveillance camera is watching. in plymouth county, pennsylvania, these shoppers at a strawbridge department star
were stealing purposes they appeared to be buying. >> they were witnessed in the store having purchased the high-priced items and she figured there was some fraud going on and she'd better notify the loss prevention security people within straw bij. >> the thieves aware of the surveillance cameras had come up with a seemingly fullproof plot. they actually acted for the cameras and were helped by an inside connection, the cashier. >> what the cashier did is she swiped the car and the screen read you needed to manually put in the numbers. >> first the suspects magnetic ly scraped off the back of the card. they knew this meant the card would have to be entered by hand. for anybody else watching it would appear normal. >> what they're trying to do is
show they're swiping the card like any other number. >> next the cashier enters the 16-digit card number, a stolen card number. >> and here come the numbers. >> but she's made a critical mistake. the numbers she's entered don't match the credit card in her hand. >> they belong to a mastercard and what she has in her hand is any old bank card and a visa card. we were able to tell that by certain numbers that are in the card that only belong to master card and certain numbers only belong to visa, certain numbers only belong to american express. so these are stolen credit card numbers from somebody out there who we can't determine yet. >> at this point, store security is onto their game and they zoom in for a closer look. >> she takes out a credit card. it's a visa card in her left happened. she's putting a little sticky note on the back of that card and on that sticky note are stolen credit card numbers. >> but the thieves run into a problem. several of the card numbers are declined. they despite to split abruptly,
leaving the cashier literally holding the bag. watching all this happen, ee zbal-eyed store security calls the police. the cashier is arrested and so is one other member of the ring still inside the store. the two others get away, but once again the surveillance tape proves to be their undoing. >> i was able to actually take one of the credit card numbers off that video surveillance, and i was able to take that credit card number and find out who that credit card belonged to. >> detective sal ter is able to trace the stolen numbers to the university of pennsylvania hospital. >> they all work in a small department within the hospital. they were able to access credit card information and people's personal information such as dates of birth, social security number, addresses, home phone numbers, and what they did, they stole this information, and they were able to obtain these credit cards. either they mail ordered them or
stole the credit k5rd number ts. >> it turns out the four women had ripped off numbers of stores stealing thousands of dollars worth of merchandise. they all pled guilty to fraud and theft charges and were given probation. >> we were able to obtain so mump information from the video surveillance. the investigation itself had its bumps but without the videotape, we wouldn't have had the evidence of them committing the crime. we wouldn't have have received the numbers, the tip-off that was a fraud. the most important thing was they're handing her a credit card but it shows what kind of credit card they're handing her and what numbers are being typed into the computer. and that, itself, right there makes the biggest difference. >> surveillance cameras have long been used in banks, stores, malls, and office buildings. now it's increasingly popular on the nation's roads and tollways enforcing tolls and traffic laws. the newest, schools, outside of bars, and in n