Unintentional proof of concept

Thieves caught after breaking into video surveillance company
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Thursday, November 1, 2007

PLEASANTON, Calif.--Vigilant Video, a video-analytic software-development company, had the unfortunate opportunity to test its software in an all-too-real setting. In August, four men broke into Vigilant's development office based here and stole a purported $50,000 worth of video equipment. What the thieves didn't realize was that Vigilant specializes in intrusion detection and facial-recognition software and had cameras set-up in its office that clearly captured the men's images.
"We have our own testing cameras in place because we're leasing the building," said Joe Harzewski, vice president of sales and marketing at Vigilant Video. "Our cameras specifically look to take and carve out facial shots that are intelligible so the software can store them and match them. It recorded the facial shots of each of the perpetrators and we had specific face shots of each person."
The company furnished the images to the police who identified and eventually arrested all four men. Unfortunately, Vigilant was only able to recover one of the stolen PCs out of the several cameras, DVRs, PCs and other hardware that were taken.
Harzewski doubts the thieves knew what kind of company they were breaking into. "I think they understood we were a development group and they were wanting hardware to sell off in the black market," he said. "But they didn't understand what we were developing because their facial shots were unbelievably clear when it was recorded in our software."