Surveillance system catches car vandals

Cameras watching a car dealership storage lot detects two people damaging vehicles
Thursday, June 1, 2006

MIAMI--A multi-faceted security system, complete with video surveillance, two-way voice and perimeter security, proved worth the investment for a Lexus car dealership when two people entered the storage lot in mid-March and began damaging vehicles.
Two people tripped the perimeter security system at the Lexus Auto Storage Facility in Miami at 2:30 a.m. on March 18 after they jumped a chain link fence at the five-acre storage lot that holds 250 brand new cars. The perimeter security system sent an alarm to the central station, which began monitoring the location through the car lot's surveillance system.
"If someone comes on the premises, it trips the alarm and calls up the central station. If they see someone, they can talk two-way to the person," said Steve Schwartz, vice president of Global Security Products, the systems integrator that installed the system. "In this particular case, either they didn't communicate with them or they chose not to, because they were up to no good."
Central station operators called police after seeing the two suspects rip out circuit boards, the computer system that makes the headlights turn bright white, from Lexus vehicles.
By the time police arrived, the two people damaged 12 cars, including several cars at a Toyota collision center next door. The car dealerships estimated the damage at $57,000.
Schwartz said this is not the first time the security system that he installed two years ago caught someone up to no good at either the Lexus or Toyota dealership, two of his customers. Three months ago, the Toyota dealership nabbed a person who tried to steal a car from the lot, thanks to the surveillance system.
"They underestimated the security system," he said.