EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

New Hampshire

January 6, 2013

It's not CSI on television...It's real life

Surveillance videos help, usually, to catch crooks


In a Sept. 30 robbery of the CVS on Lowell Avenue, a store security camera photo released by police appeared in The Eagle-Tribune. It led to the arrest of a 41-year-old man after police received information from a resident identifying the person in the photo. He is accused of using a handgun to rob prescription pills from the pharmacy. Police said he was identified through the photo even though he was wearing a scarf over his face.

Not every case goes off without a hitch, however.

In Haverhill the wrong picture of a suspect was released to the media, and a woman who had been at a local bank was identified as a suspect in an ATM card theft. Only thing is, she didn’t do it. A bank error resulted in police getting the wrong photo from the wrong ATM. The photo was then released to the media. The woman, 22, was cleared of any wrongdoing after she proved the withdrawal she had made at the ATM was from her own account. Police then published a picture of the real suspect in the case.

In most cases, however, video works very well as a crime-fighting tool, said Haverhill Lt. Robert Pistone,

“A majority of businesses now have video,” he said. “Whenever there’s a crime, they (the business) gives us access, and we post it to a digital bulletin system and share the information in-house for all the officers to see. If anyone recognizes this person, we ask them to let the detectives know.”

Images and videos are also shared with and by other departments.

On Thursday of this week, Pistone got pictures taken from video of a bank robber from Lynn, as well as images of suspects in other crimes in Lowell and Lawrence.

“Before, the technology was grainy, and when you got stills, you did not get a good, clear picture,” he said. “Now, the stills are high-quality digital images.”

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