Security Cams Catch Burglars in the Act

Video shows thieves looting cars on the northwest side over the weekend

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Carlos Vargas installed the cameras on the eaves of his house last month after growing frustrated with vandalism in his neighborhood. Dick Johnson reports. (Published Monday, Jan 21, 2013)

    One north side Chicago man is a father of three and a construction manager. But now Carlos Vargas has also become an amateur detective of sorts after his surveillance cameras captured burglars in the act.

    Vargas installed the cameras on the eaves of his house near West Armitage and North Nordica avenues last month after growing frustrated with vandalism in his neighborhood. Little did he know his efforts would pay off so quickly.

    "Saturday afternoon we were going to go out and do some grocery shopping. We were having friends over that night, and we get into the car and find the car has been ransacked. And so we came back in here and go through the video and see what we can find," Vargas recalled Monday.

    The video showed a team of three and a look-out driver quickly and quickly casing cars looking for two things: easy access and items of value. Vargas' car had been mistakenly left unlocked, he said.

    "I can see backpacks, and I can see flashlights as they go through the cars," he said.

    The video also shows one of the robbers going into a neighbor's house and walk out with something.

    "I see him going into the gangway and a couple minutes later comes out carrying whatever he's stealing," said Vargas.

    The footage has already been turned over to police, the homeowner said. Vargas said he's also printing up fliers with still frames of his video to distribute through the neighborhood.

    In his own way, Vargas has become a one man crime-fighter without a deadly weapon.