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Security Cameras Capture Pickpockets on Port Authority Bus

Published by Dan on May 9, 2007 3:35 PM

It's becoming more and more common to find security cameras aboard public modes of transportation such as buses and subway trains. These cameras work to protect drivers and passengers and to deter criminal activity and disorderly conduct. The Port Authority in Pittsburgh, Penn. has outfitted many of its buses with multiple surveillance cameras for those very reasons.

There are about 1000 buses in the fleet, and over half of them are now equipped with video surveillance equipment. Security cameras come standard on all new Port Authority buses. Inappropriate passenger behavior can be a problem on buses, especially when riders are under the influence of alcohol and drugs. Another problem is theft. Such was the case last week when surveillance cameras captured footage of pickpockets stealing from an elderly man on a Port Authority bus.

Jerry Washington, 77, was simply making his way home after cashing his social security check. But as he boarded the bus, a pair of pickpocketeers performed their thieving dance with precision and grace, using Washington as their unwilling dance partner. While the first man stepped on Washington's toes, a second man bumped him from behind and reached into his pocket, knowing the odds were in his favor that he'd come away with a wad of $20 bills. The thieves scampered away with close to $250 in folding cash.

While the accident happened too fast for authorities to capture the thieves at the scene, the entire incident was captured in clear and vivid detail by the bus' onboard security cameras. Police have released the footage to the public with the hope that someone will recognize the suspects and come forward with further information that will help in tracking them down. This demonstrates one of the benefits of bus surveillance. While ideally, the presence of onboard cameras will deter such activity, visual evidence of incidents such as this one can prove useful for further investigation and future prosecution once the suspects are found.

Read more on this story and watch a detailed breakdown of the surveillance video at

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