Graffiti vandals caught on video

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A life-sciences manufacturing and testing company recently installed a digital video surveillance system at their Haverhill, Mass. plant to deal with an ongoing traffic problem. It turned out, however, that within days of installation the video system worked in an unexpected way.

“The timing was amazing,” said Shawn Dorman, facilities coordinator at Embryotech Laboratories. “It couldn’t have worked out any better.”

Embryotech Laboratories manufactures research products and test kits used in the reproductive market. They also perform sophisticated laboratory testing for scientists. The company is located in an industrial area of Haverhill, and in recent years their parking lot had become a favorite place for truck drivers bound for other companies to park or turnaround.

“We have had issues with the trucks swiping the corners of our buildings, or parking and idling in our lot for hours. It was a real problem, so we wanted the video system to monitor vehicle traffic around the perimeter of our building,” Dorman said.

American Alarm installed the video system on March 1, which was a Thursday. That following Monday, when Dorman pulled into work, he saw the back of the building was covered with graffiti. He jumped out of his car, went into the building’s operations center and began scanning the video images captured and archived over the weekend. It didn’t take long for Dorman to find what he was looking for.

On Sunday afternoon, March 4, a pair of “artists” had hit the building. “There they were, in full view of the camera,” Dorman said. “I guess they didn’t realize they were on camera.”

Dorman called Haverhill Police, and Detective John Moses responded to review the video images. “We could see that the two suspects were wearing some distinctive clothing. That proved very helpful in the investigation,” Moses said.

Within a week’s time, using the images captured by Embryotech’s video system, Moses had identified the two juveniles (names withheld because of their age) who are now suspected of perpetrating a rash of graffiti tagging in the area.

“The distinctive clothing that they wore was recognized by individuals related to a separate graffiti incident,” Moses said. “The juveniles will be summoned to court on charges of malicious defacing of a building.”

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