WILKES-BARRE, LUZERNE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU-TV) It’s been ten days since a Wilkes-Barre man’s murder.
Police just made an arrest a few days ago. But the length of time between the crime and the arrest have people questioning the city’s surveillance camera system. The I-Team’s Andy Mehalshick has our story,
That system was once known as the Hawkeye System and has been in place about a decade.
But it’s effectiveness has always been in question.
Reynaldo Mercado is charged with the beating and stabbing death of 58-year old Fred Boote investigators say he admitted to killing Boote inside his Donald Court home in the early morning hours of September 14th.
Boote’s cell phone was found about a block away from his home. The crime scene. It was underneath this pole with a surveillance camera on top. But the camera was not working. It is one of about 300 cameras located around the city. But as the I-Team first reported nearly a year ago – about 40-percent of the cameras don’t work. And the cameras that are working. Are not monitored. They haven’t been for several years now.. The I-Team asked the mayor about the Boote investigation. If the camera was working could there have been a much quicker arrest.
Mayor Tony George said “We made the arrest pretty quickly. We knew the participants in a day or two anyway. The camera would not have made any difference.”
Mayor George insists the city just doesn’t have the money to upgrade the system. Yet alone pay for officers to monitors those cameras. But for Boote’s neighbors, the city’s decision to have a non-working camera system that isn’t even monitored just doesn’t make sense
“My thought is if they put the money into them, why just write it off. It’s a loss since it’s not working anymore. A lot of weird things happen at the end of the road here.” Said Cindy Cruikshank
Mayor George insists that with the abundance of private security cameras all over the city. On homes and businesses…investigators can use that video if need be in an area where city cameras are don’t work or are not located