Surveillance cameras in Boston helped find two terrorist bombers last week.
But Nick Vrettos, co-owner of the Firehouse Deli on City Island Avenue, would have been happy if there were any local surveillance cameras to simply help catch a burglar who recently hit his store for $8,000 worth of cash and merchandise.
Unfortunately, a state grant arranged by Senator Jeff Klein for $100,000 to put up a string of cameras on the island is still in the works more than two years after a press conference announcing that funding had been approved. The project has been planned since at least 2009.
“We could have had some kind of information about these burglaries from the cameras,” said Vrettos.“A small detail could help.”
Vrettos said he believes that having all of the cameras running would be a deterrent for burglaries since they would record movement along the commercial strip.
Installation of the security system has been held up because of red tape in Albany, and other requirements, including the local chamber of commerce setting up a separate bank account for the camera system, said City Island Chamber vice-president Paul Klein.
“I’ve been working on this for four years, and we have filled out the paperwork three times,” said CICC president Gerard “Skip” Giacco.
He said he’s happy the project is still alive after all of the changes in administration in Albany, noting that Senator Klein had done all he could to get the money released.
While three of the cameras are up and some of the electrical work is done, none are yet working, he said.
All told, the plan is to eventually install 16 cameras.
“I agree if the cameras were up, there would be a possibility that this would not have happened, or at least it would have been easy to get the guys,” said Giacco. “But the cameras were not up, and they were also not up when someone broke into my shop three years ago. It would have been great if they had been up then.”
The cameras will be up soon and they will help prevent crimes like burglaries on the island, he said, adding that both the chamber and Klein have done their best to get the cameras up as fast as possible.
Police sources confirmed that burglaries were reported on Sunday, April 7 at both the City Island Pharmacy at 286 City Island Avenue and Filomena’s Pizza and Pasta at 290 City Island Avenue.
Filomena’s owner said the shop had actually been burglarized a second time. The Firehouse Deli burglary was reported on Saturday, April 20.
Captain James McGeown, commander of the 45th Precinct, said he has allocated extra resources to the island at night.
The crimes are being thoroughly investigated, he said, adding that “we have some good leads.”
Patrick Rocchio can be reach via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at (718) 742-3393