New security system keeps watch
GOTCHA! An 18-year-old man was caught on camera smashing windscreens with a shopping trolley and jumping on car bonnets at Lismore’s City Toyota car yard early yesterday morning.
City Toyota general manager Mark Pidcock said the footage from their high-tech security cameras gave a high resolution picture of the vandal in action.
The footage from the camera was handed to police who knew the repeat offender and were able to go straight to his house and arrest him.
Both City Toyota and another car yard in Lismore had cars vandalised with the damages estimated at $36,000,according to police.
The Northern Star reported on an October rampage involving four car yards in Lismore, with estimated damages of $40,000, but this latest attack has at least resulted in the arrest of the culprit.
Police said alcohol was believed to have contributed to the situation, and they had charged the man with 18 malicious damage offences.
Mr Pidcock and staff at City Toyota had to field calls from concerned customers all day.
“It’s a big story around here and what happens is people who have bought cars and haven’t picked them up are calling to see if their car is damaged,” Mr Pidcock said.
Neighbouring car sales managers declined to comment to The Northern Star, yet the problem of car vandalism is best tackled by Mr Pidcock’s example.
“If it wasn’t for the technology we would not have arrived at that result,” he said.
“Review your security system. Even if it doesn’t deter vandals, it will catch them,” he said.
Apart from putting up a fence to protect the car yards, security cameras are a viable option.
The German security system at City Toyota was installed by Lismore company Linear G, and sales manger Amanda Morris was surprised more car yards had not taken up the option.
Nowadays it is not called Closed Circuit Television (CCTV), but high-resolution online security monitoring. You can be at home and if an online alert is triggered, an SMS is sent and you are able to view the footage from your own home.
“We have the technology and it’s not expensive,” Ms Morris said.
A security camera cost about $2500 and installation starts from $800.
Resident Val Sawtell also keeps a watchful eye on City Toyota. She didn’t hear anything yesterday apart from a car alarm going off at 10.30pm.
“We keep a watch on the yard and if we see skateboarders or hear a noise, we ring Mark Pidcock on his mobile,” she said
Extra police patrols havealso helped to reduce rates of malicious damage in car yards, Insp Greg Moore, from the Richmond Local Area Command, said.
The culprit in yesterday’s vandalism has been granted conditional bail and will appear in Lismore Local Court on December 21. He was taken by police to the car yards involved to apologise to staff.