Thief prowls Santee neighborhood, targets cars and camera feed

Posted at 9:17 PM, Aug 16, 2016
and last updated 2016-08-17 00:17:41-04

A thief was caught on surveillance video targeting cars in Santee before targeting the surveillance camera itself.

Just before 5:30 Thursday morning on Woodrose Avenue in Santee, Brian Schnitzer's surveillance camera spots a man peering into vehicles.

“He uses his flashlight or phone light to look into a car in the neighbor’s driveway. The way he’s walking, he doesn’t have a care in the world,” said Schnitzer.

And then at exactly 5:28 a.m., something unusual happens.

When Schnitzer slowed it down frame by frame, you can see the camera, being twisted off from behind.

“We bought the cameras to protect ourselves. To have this taken away from us, definitely frustrating,” said Schnitzer.

The camera the thief grabbed was pointed away from the thief, but what he likely didn't know was there was another camera up and watching the area the man was operating in. That camera would capture more of the thief, moving from vehicle to vehicle.

Schnitzer said he's hoping the thief's mistake will be his undoing - if the images lead to tips and a case solved. 

“It’s scary thinking you’re in bed, and someone's outside your house, and you don't even know,” said Schnitzer.

Schnitzer posted the incident on Facebook, including the East County Emergency Updates page.

If you have information on the case, call the Santee sheriff’s substation.