Busted: Thief captured on doorbell's video before he removes it
A thief who stole a doorbell surveillance camera from a Natomas home Thursday morning left behind something valuable: a video of himself.
Steven Bloom, who lives Sutley Circle, said increasing crime in his neighborhood of 11 years prompted him to install multiple home security devices about two months ago. Among them is a video doorbell by Ring that allows him, via his smartphone, to see and speak with visitors who come to his door, even if he is not home.
Maybe he thought if he stole the camera, he wouldn’t be able to be seen.
Natomas resident Steven Bloom, whose video doorbell captured the man as he stole the device Thursday
Bloom said he was in a meeting at 8:37 a.m. Thursday when a man came to his door, so he wasn’t able to speak to him. But the man was captured on video — which was uploaded to the company’s cloud—as he approached the door, looked at the video doorbell and subsequently removed the device. Bloom said the man apparently was not aware that even though he stole the camera, his image and activities had been captured and preserved.
“Maybe he thought if he stole the camera, he wouldn’t be able to be seen,” said Bloom, who shared the video via Nextdoor.com. He also filed an online report with the Sacramento Police Department.
Had the man tried to break into the residence, Bloom said, he would have triggered security alarms.
Officer Matthew McPhail, Sacramento police spokesman, said he had not seen Bloom’s report and was not familiar with the Ring video doorbell. But he noted that as the cost of electronic surveillance equipment decreases, more people are installing it in their homes.
Although there’s no guarantee that police will be able to solve a crime if they have surveillance video, “it is often helpful in providing us with a lead,” McPhail said.
Residential burglaries are particularly difficult to solve, because there typically are no witnesses, he said.
Homes equipped with surveillance cameras that record video not only of the residence, but also the street and adjacent area can prove helpful in solving neighborhood crime. In incidents such as Wednesday morning’s attempted kidnapping of a 13-year-old girl in East Sacramento, one of the first things police look for in their investigation are surveillance cameras in the neighborhood that might have captured the incident, McPhail said.
Bloom said ring.com replaces stolen cameras at no charge as long as the homeowner files a report with police.