Does surveillance video help solve local crimes? - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

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Does surveillance video help solve local crimes?

Does surveillance video help solve local crimes?
By: CJ Cassidy

Surveillance cameras seem to catch crooks in the act all the time - but catching crooks red-handed doesn't always put them in jail. Police in Cape Girardeau and Sikeston say they still need your help in solving two crimes caught on tape in the heartland.

It's hard to forget about the video we showed you back in July last year, when surveillance cameras captured a robber viciously kicking a young store clerk at SEMO Video in the head.

But despite leads flooding in, police haven't tracked down the robbery suspect -mostly because the camera didn't give them a clear look at his face. That doesn't mean police don't jump at the chance to use surveillance tape in their investigations.

They're looking through tape that caught a robber in action as he stole a laptop from Cape Girardeau's Best Buy store Wednesday afternoon. "An employee saw him leaving without paying for it, stopped him and said "Sir you need to pay for that before you leave" and the suspect knocked him out of the way took off," Sgt. Barry Hovis with the Cape Girardeau Police Department says.

Officers say several witnesses spotted the man's suspicious behavior but they hope this video does much more than a simple description. "Sometimes there are discrepancies between eyewitnesses - they may forget something comes to video clear video there's no doubting what you see."

Often times however, surveillance video needs to be digitally enhanced before police can use them.

Sikeston police hope that holds true for them, as they filter through tape of a man breaking into a convenience store and making off with cash, cigarettes and lottery tickets. "The video makes it easier to know the type of person we're looking for, and if he's black or white, and even see if he touched anything at the crime scene so we can dust that area for fingerprints," Capt. Mark Crocker with the Sikeston Department of Public Safety explains.

So, while there's no guarantee surveillance video will always help with an arrest, prosecutors say once an arrest has been made - a conviction is generally easier to come by in court if they have a tape to show a judge or jury.

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