Police discuss uses of surveillance video in light of recent armed robberies

Surveillance cameras often valuable in solving crimes

ABILENE, Texas - Two armed robberies in the last two weeks showed the potential impact of video surveillance.

Officer George Spindler said surveillance video evidence can make a case stronger, but the community is also a necessary part of the equation in solving cases.

Spindler said surveillance video played a key role in identifying 27-year-old Jacob Powell as the man who allegedly robbed the Citibank on South 14th Street two weeks ago. According to a search warrant for Powell's residence, Powell's father recognized him from a snapshot aired on local media.

"It's like the old adage, you know, a picture's worth a thousand words," Spindler said. "We could get a lot of descriptors from that video and thankfully with the help of the media we can get that out fairly quickly to the community because we know we can't do this job alone without the community."

Though there is footage of the suspect in last week's armed robbery at the Family Dollar store located on North Mockingbird Lane, the suspect has yet to be identified.

"We're curious about whether the person is a local suspect or maybe he lives out of town," Spindler said. "There may be a multitude of variables as they gather intelligence from the videos that are available and hopefully, with the community's help, we might be able to positively identify this guy. The sooner the better."

But not all businesses invest in video surveillance. Spindler said police can often pull video from surrounding businesses when a crime occurs.

Just before midnight Friday, Philpott Florists and Radio Shack were burglarized. In an incident report, police said a Caucasian or Hispanic male can be seen on surveillance breaking into the Radio Shack.

"I remind the community and those who would even begin to think about committing these types of crimes--I mean these are serious felony crimes when you're committing a burglary or a robbery with some serious consequences to their lives--is it really worth endangering, you know, a community you live in?"

Spindler said it is important for businesses and homeowners to keep inventory of important items so it's easier to identify them if they are stolen and later recovered.

Anonymous tips on the Family Dollar, Philpott Florists and Radio Shack cases can be reported to Abilene Crime Stoppers at (325) 676-TIPS.

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