By Louie Graves
In-store surveillance cameras are becoming one of the best tools for bringing crime suspects to justice.
“We love them,” Nashville Criminal Investigator Larry Marion told the News-Leader last week after criminal charges were brought against a Hope man who brazenly took a pair of saddles from the Hempstead Farmers Association business in Nashville.
Marion said that many businesses now have cameras watching inside and outside the premises 24-hours a day.
That includes the farmers association cameras which caught Darwon Charles Jackson, 48, black male, Hope, quietly coming in a service door and going to an area where the saddles were kept. He hoisted the heavy leather saddles and walked out of the store – passing in front of the always-alert camera eye on Thursday, June 21. He even returned a third time, this time going to the larger interior of the store, and leaving with batteries and a pair of boots.
Based upon the video, and more videos taken the same day at Walmart where he also allegedly took some items, Jackson was charged July 3 with class D felony theft of property. He’ll be charged with misdemeanor shoplifting for the items taken on camera at Walmart.
Jackson is just one alleged criminal who was recently nabbed by surveillance cameras.
Using videos from several sources, police were able to arrest Keith D. Dorsey, 29, black male, Houston, Texas, who, on June 1, allegedly walked up to an open ATM machine being serviced, grabbed money trays containing more than $63,000, and fled. His freedom was brief, however, because within weeks Texas police were able to identify his picture and arrest him. He is in the Howard County jail and will face a jury in September.
Surveillance cameras also helped bring down a four-person gang which robbed a Mineral Springs bank in 2016. Three of those defendants have pleaded guilty and have been sentenced. The remaining member is still held in Oklahoma on other charges. The bank’s cameras have the armed foursome rushing in, grabbing money, and fleeing in less than three minutes. Convenience store cameras in Oklahoma also caught them refueling their getaway car.
At the farmers cooperative, manager Margie Christie said Jackson had been caught on surveillance video once before, and may have made visits to the store even before that. The items taken this time were valued at $1,145.10. The saddles were later recovered at Texarkana pawn store. Christie said that the batteries and boots had not been returned.
Surveillance cameras were also used to catch men who boosted credit card information from gasoline pumps at convenience stores in Nashville and Murfreesboro.