Camera Helps Stop Suspected Burglary Ring

PARMA, Ohio – Police officials in Parma said that they have stopped a west-side burglary ring thanks to a camera that caught the thieves in the act, Action News' Ed Gallek reported.

The manager at the Westview Acres apartment complex off of Brookpark Road in Parma put a camera in a window after his parking lot had been continually hit by a group of thieves.

Joe Chiro's plan worked because the robbers who are suspected of being responsible for the original crime spree came back for more. The videotape shows a van pulling in to the parking lot, Moments later the thieves get out and begin breaking into some of the cars parked in the lot.

They steal everything from stereo equipment to tools, but what they didn't know was that Chiro's tiny camera was catching it all on tape.

"We just had an extra camera laying around, and since we had a couple tenants complain about vandalism, we decided to take the extra camera and stick it in the window," Chiro said.

The camera didn't shoot in detail, but months later, a security guard saw the van again and wrote down its license plate number. That gave police the break that they needed.

"This was a several month-long adventure for them," Parma police spokesman Michael Klein said.

Police busted Steven Phillips and two other men. Investigators said they believe that the suspects have broken into cars throughout the west side.

"They weren't just in Parma," Klein said. "Through their own statements, they tell us they were up and down Brookpark Road, from Brooklyn through Brook Park itself all the way into Cleveland."

Back at the apartments, there was a feeling of justice.

"It's personal," Chiro said. "When you have your car broken into and you come out and see your dash ripped out, it's personal."