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Police: Blurry Surveillance Video Helps Thieves Get Away


UPDATED: Friday February 1, 2013 7:52 AM

It’s supposed to help catch criminals, but in some cases, outdated video equipment can help thieves get away.

The video from an armed robbery in Lancaster two weeks ago was such poor quality that investigators were not able to identify the culprit.

“It’s very pixilated,” said Sgt. Will Tolly with the Lancaster Police Department. “It’s moving back and forth. Even if a person were to come into the cash register area, you can’t really make out the person’s face.”

Investigators blame the old video equipment used by businesses.

Tolly said that many businesses are still using VCRs to capture video.

His department has been encouraging business owners to upgrade their surveillance equipment after a string of armed robberies.

“In several cases, they have used handguns, and we also have one in which they used a knife,” Tolly said.

One of the robberies occurred at Hope Pulp Reality on North Columbus Street.

Michael Huston, a sales associate at the store, said that the suspect walked through the door, took out a gun and pointed it at one of the female cashiers.

“He didn’t say anything, he just put his finger up to his lip for her to be quiet and pointed at the register,” Huston said.

Police said that it would be difficult to catch the man because the store did not have surveillance cameras.

Huston said that the store may be updating its security system soon, though.

“The owner has told us about maybe getting some surveillance and trying to improve the lighting out front of the building,” Huston said.

Police said that sometimes, would-be robbers case businesses to see how clerks act and whether there are surveillance videos before they commit crimes.

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