COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - Columbia police are investigating after newly installed surveillance cameras at the Five Points Association office captured a subject in two April 12 early morning vehicle break-ins in the Groucho's parking lot.
The footage shows an unidentified subject walking by several cameras, going through trash cans, picking up rocks, then throwing those rocks at Groucho's owner Bruce Miller's Rav4 to break the driver's side window.
"Watching this criminal break into my car on film is eye-opening and certainly satisfying," said Miller. "Within two weeks of these cameras watching my lot, they are already proving to be very useful. Being victimized is not a good feeling, but knowing that the chances of this person getting caught because their face is on film helps me feel more comfortable in this neighborhood."
The cameras show what appears to be the same person leaving the scene of the first break-in and heading directly towards the other vehicle, an Edible Arrangements delivery van, parked in the same lot near Santee and Blossom Streets.
The Five Points Association started installing the surveillance cameras as early as 2005, but recently Statewide Security Systems donated $50,000 to the association which pushed the total number of cameras to over 50.
"Five Points is a large area, but with 50 cameras, there are a lot of areas that are covered," said Executive Director of the Five Points Association Merritt McHaffie. "There are not a lot of dark areas anymore. We will continue to put in more cameras as time goes on."
Columbia Police Chief Randy Scott urges business to take appropriate crime prevention measures. "I applauded the team work between the business community and the Columbia Police Department and [am] encouraged by businesses throughout the City of Columbia for taking the initiative to better protect their properties by the use of crime prevention tools," said Scott.
If you know who the man in the video is or anything about the break-ins, you are urged to call Crimestoppers at 1-888-CRIME-SC.