Seattle man uses security camera to catch car prowlers

Jul 23, 2021, 3:03 PM | Updated: 3:33 pm
car prowlers, theft...
An attempted motorcycle theft in action, caught on a Ring camera. (Screengrab courtesy of Gerard Thai/YouTube)
(Screengrab courtesy of Gerard Thai/YouTube)

A resident of Seattle’s Fremont neighborhood has set up cameras in the parking lot of his building to help him be able to catch and confront car prowlers and thieves.

Gerard Thai has been trying to catch thieves in the act and chase them away from the building — whether they are stealing a motorcycle part, a catalytic converter, or trying to get lucky and find an unlocked car.

It started about a year and a half ago, he says, when he forgot to lock up his truck and had it broken into, though thankfully nothing of value was stolen.

“My apartment sits literally over my parking space. So I got the idea to put a WiFi camera — the Ring camera, which is WiFi — because the signal is really strong from my apartment to the garage,” Thai said.

He has one camera in the garage facing his motorcycle and a neighbor’s motorcycle, his truck, and the three spaces in that area, then he added a second camera later that faces the parking lot.

Thai says there have been eight or nine times when he’s run out of his apartment to try and catch a thief, and some of the videos are posted on YouTube here.

“The camera detects motion, and then it starts to record,” he explained. “… The camera alerts me through my phone between certain hours. So I have my phone alert to go between midnight and like 7 a.m. because it seems like that’s when most people are in thieving mode.”

Oftentimes he brings a baseball bat with him, though there are a few times when he’s carried down a gun, including when someone pulled into the lot with a U-Haul truck to steal a motorcycle. Thai says in all the times he’s confronted someone, he has not yet hit or shot anyone.

MyNorthwest does not condone taking the law into your own hands. Please call 911 if you are experiencing an emergency or are in need of assistance.

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Seattle man uses security camera to catch car prowlers