Busted! ‘Banning Record Gazette’ Cameras Nab Burglars in the Act

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By: E&P Staff

Something odd was happening at the Record Gazette in Banning, Calif. Little things like headphones and glue sticks were going missing. Then, someone swiped a photo scanner.

The newspaper began to fear that something big and expensive, like its servers, might be the next target. So Production Manager Cheri Mitchell proposed a simple high-tech solution: Train the cameras in the production department’s i-Mac computers on the newsroom. She would be watching from her home computer using video chat on Yahoo Messenger.

It worked, according to an account in the newspaper by staff writer David James Heiss. On a Friday night, with Mitchell checking her screen every 10 minutes or so, a man and woman came into view.

“At first they were walking around, but then the guy took a G3 (computer) and put it in a trash bag,” Mitchell told the paper. “Then he decided the bag wasn’t going to cut it, so he got a box and put two in it. I didn’t realize they’d grabbed the server.”

While the pair looted the office, Mitchell dialed 911 and gave police a running narration of the burglary.

Banning cops were waiting outside, as the pair exited with more than $5,000 worth of equipment.

Two Banning locals, Christopher Jorden, 27, and Rebecca Shawver, 21, were arrested and jailed on suspicion of committing commercial burglary and conspiracy to commit burglary.

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