SEPTA nabs crooks via hi-tech cameras

January 15, 2013 5:28:50 AM PST
SEPTA police say surveillance video given exclusively to Action News shows a crook in the act.

On Friday, the male suspect was caught on camera at 3:00 a.m. trying to get into a turnstile box full of tokens at the closed York-Dauphin Station in Kensington.

Investigators say he was only at it for a few seconds before SEPTA officers swooped in with guns drawn, surprising 49-year-old Derrick Whethers, and took him down.

"Officers were alert to what was going on and they made a great arrest, but it occurred because of good video," SEPTA Police Chief Tom Nestel said.

It also occurred due to a team of transit employees watching 1,200 hi-tech, state of the art platform and station cameras.

Officers can't be everywhere so the large transit system has been fine tuning its crime prevention and investigation efforts along with how it catches criminals.

Nestel says Whethers is connected to two other recent turnstile burglaries, which cost the transit agency about $5,000.

"As soon as we get a call for an incident we go to our bank of cameras," Nestel said.

That's what happened Monday morning when SEPTA police got a call about an unattended bag on the Broad Street Line.

In a rush to catch her train, a woman left her purse.

It didn't take long before investigators say 48-year-old Curtis Drummond made a move. He took one look, checked his surroundings, had a seat on the bench and started digging through the purse.

Police say he got up and even came back for more, stealing $160 and two trans passes.

Drummond was caught.

SEPTA says, let this man serve as an example.

"You commit a crime on SEPTA, you're just not going to get away with it," Nestel said.