Sterling Police Need Help to ID Thieves Caught on Camera - News and Weather For The Quad Cities -

Sterling Police Need Help to ID Thieves Caught on Camera

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Sterling police are asking for your help to find two men who stole high-priced electronics from two different stores. And they were caught on tape.

Officers say the men walked in to Kohl's and Wal-Mart last month and walked out with cartloads of electronics. Sgt. Bob Allen tells us, a "sound bar, surround sound system, computers, monitors, that type of thing." He says, more than two-thousand dollars worth of equipment from Wal-Mart alone.

But both stores have surveillance cameras up and running. In fact, Allen says almost every retail store in Sterling has a surveillance system. "It's pretty elaborate, pretty intense. They can zoom in out in the parking lot on cars or license plates. They can zoom in on the cash register, see denominations of bills, checks written, all that type of thing."

It's something he says has really come into focus in the past five years for retail, but more recently in area schools, and Allen says just last month at the police station itself. "We have it not only in the police department, it's upstairs in our other facilities where the Mayor's office is and everything." Watching virtually everyone who enters the public building.

And while some say this smacks of Big Brother, others say it's just reality. Allen tells us, "You get used to it. If you're doing nothing wrong and act normal, everything's okay." He says video-recording can help when it comes to employee and visitor safety. And it can be a big help when it comes to crime. "It's a great tool for us to use," Allen says. "You get exact times of things happening, which is important for prosecution later down the road. Someone says I wasn't there at that time, you know, a picture's worth a thousand words."

While officers still do the leg work and follow leads and interview witnesses, surveillance pictures let them put a lot more eyes on suspects. They say it's a collaboration. They were working this case since it happened, but just got the pictures from the stores and are now putting them out, hoping someone will recognize one or both of these men. Police say both were seen leaving both sores in an older model gray pickup truck.

If you have any information about these men, police ask you to call them or Whiteside County Crimestoppers.

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