N. Y. attorney general nixes fake detectors
ALBANY, N.Y. - New YorkÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Attorney General Eliot Spitzer may have stopped an upstate retailer from selling surveillance cameras in the form of a non-working smoke detector, but his actions have done little to cease industry discussion on the subject.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢m glad to see someone enforcing it,Ã¢â‚¬Â said Gary Pollack, marketing manager for Edwards Systems Technology. Ã¢â‚¬Å“You canÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t make people assume thereÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s fire protection when thereÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s not.Ã¢â‚¬Â
Earlier this year, the attorney general targeted Spy Outlet, retailer of surveillance products, because the store offered a non-working smoke detectors, was in violation of New York State law. The smoke detectors have been recalled because the law states installation of non-working detectors creates a false sense of security.
Spy Outlet is based in Tonawanda, N.Y., and operates a second store in Rochester.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“Bottomline, they just went after me,Ã¢â‚¬Â said Spy Outlet owner Robert J. Crowley. Ã¢â‚¬Å“I was a single target in the whole industry because of one fire marshal.Ã¢â‚¬Â
Crowley settled the case by paying $1,500 in a civil penalty, notifying those customers he had records of selling the devices to and posting an advertisement alerting customers of the recall.
No one contacted the company as a result of the recall notice, he said. But the publicity has driven customers to the companyÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s doors and web site.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“My business went crazy after this,Ã¢â‚¬Â recalls Crowley, who sells numerous covert surveillance systems.
To comply with the New York state law, the Spy Outlet now offers a functional smoke detector video camera, priced at $149 each.
Crowley made a $5 adjustment in the devices to make them operational fire detectors, he said.