Thursday, June 02, 2005

Surveillance tapes can be your friend

Thanks to Gerry Riskin for pointing me to this interesting story. He probably didn't think it had a privacy angle, but just about everything does these days...

Most commentary about video surveillance talks about how intrusive it is and how it invades privacy. But video can help the average person fight back against big brother.

A Toronto panhandler and a real estate agent friend have used in-store video surveillance to get back the homeless man's shiny red bicycle, which the Toronto Police had confiscated believing that that it must be stolen. (They also pepper-sprayed him, presumably because he got a little uppity at having his new bike taken from him.) The cops did not accept his tattered receipt as proof that the man had bought the bike from a local Zellers, so the homeless man and a friend went to the Zellers and got the video surveillance tapes that showed him buying the bike, not stealing it. The police have generously returned his bike (minus the lock). No word on an apology (and I'm not expecting one). - Toronto And GTA - A rough ride:

"... Real estate agent Roderick Stewart -- a frequent contributor to Campbell's coffers over the last six months -- first heard the story Thursday when he walked by the panhandler in his usual haunts on Yonge St. south of St. Clair Ave.

"I believed him," Stewart said. "He knew dates and places so I checked it out."

Stewart, 47, went to the Zellers at Victoria Park and Danforth Aves. and staff there went through the surveillance tapes -- where they found visual evidence of Campbell buying the bike.

So Stewart took the tape and a duplicate receipt to the 55 Division police station at Coxwell Ave. and Dundas St. E. on Friday..."

No comments: