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View Full Version : Need web cam and software to stop theif, please help!


RandomDeadHead
Aug 17, 2003, 03:52 AM
My brother in-law ownes a pizza place a few miles from where I live, and for about two months now some of his employees have been stealing money. It started out as $5.00 every other day, but has now escalated to $45.00+ every single day. He believes that it is sevral people doing it because its is happening every day, and not everyone works every day. He has tryied all the usual antitheif messures,(locked boxes for the drivers, safe in the back for cash on hand, even takeing a percentage of the shortage out of the closing managers pay checks) everything but installing cameras.

My brother in law is one cheap SOB, so their is no way he will buy a video camera system.
What I want to do is set up an iBook and a web cam in the store concealed near where the cash is kept, in the office, and up front where the cash drawer is. Hideing this setup will not be hard because their is random stuff all over the store.
Can anyone recomend a VERY cheap web cam, and some free software to record the video?
He uses pc's that run a customized linux for pizza businesses, and does not have internet access, so running the web cam through there is a no go.
Also is their any other considerations that I need to take into account? Would it be alright to leave an iBook on recording video for eight on nine hours?

I would appreciate any help you guys can offer us!

tazo
Aug 17, 2003, 04:06 AM
What if they steal the iBook? :)

RandomDeadHead
Aug 17, 2003, 04:27 AM
The people working there are not terrible people, just country folk. All are over the age of 25, and most have other jobs and children. I dont think they would steal something like that. But handling two thousand dollars every night might make people do things that they would not usualy do, especially if they have children to feed.

Plus the ibook will be well hidden.

Wes
Aug 17, 2003, 07:25 AM
Originally posted by tazo
What if they steal the iBook? :)


My worries exactly as I was reading the story.

Johnboy
Aug 17, 2003, 07:49 AM
I have a high tech solution. How about if he just sits all the employees down in a meeting and tells everyone that there is some stealing going on and that it is unacceptable and it needs to stop. It may just work. They probably think nobody is noticing. And if that doesn't stop it tell them a camera will be installed. Whether you install a camera or not probably won't matter. Just my 2 cents.

Sun Baked
Aug 17, 2003, 08:28 AM
Originally posted by Johnboy
I have a high tech solution. How about if he just sits all the employees down in a meeting and tells everyone that there is some stealing going on and that it is unacceptable and it needs to stop. It may just work. They probably think nobody is noticing. And if that doesn't stop it tell them a camera will be installed. Whether you install a camera or not probably won't matter. Just my 2 cents. Usually companies just fire the employee, doesn't really stop the next employee -- and employers are reluctant to pass on the information of why the employee was fired. And problem gets carried to idiots next job, and/or employee replacement down the line.

The shrinkage gurus would probably tell the employer to send the idiot to jail, and let the criminal court handle it. Word spreads amongst employees making future potential thieves wonder if jails worth it.

Of course zero tolerance really hasn't worked out too well in high schools either. :confused:

But this is also small $ crime, even though they've scored more than most gun wielding bozos.

robbieduncan
Aug 17, 2003, 08:30 AM
Can he not use one of the existing Linux boxes for this? We set up a camera at work for a while that was connected to a Linux box. We got some motion detection software off the web that was designed for this sort of purpose and it all pretty much worked. I can find out exactly what we used on Monday... (as it was open source you could probably compile it to work on OSX if you are not willing to give up on the iBook).

vanillamike
Aug 17, 2003, 09:14 AM
What about the X10 (http://www.x10.com) wireless stuff. I see pop up ads all the time, looks like a cheap alternative, come with broadcasters and recievers, works with close cicuit TV, VCR, PC. I am not sure it is supports macs but I just thought I would throw it out there.

Mike

ZeppelinArmada
Aug 17, 2003, 09:58 AM
As far as the software goes EvoCam (http://www.evological.com/evocam.html) is a great piece of software. It costs $20 but that is half of what he is losing from the till everyday. I would hight recommend it as it has just about every bell and whistle, time lapse with stamping, motion detection etc. One of my friends has here G4 400 at my place and she records time lapses of our living room with it.

mnkeybsness
Aug 17, 2003, 10:19 AM
can't you just find someone with a dv camcorder and borrow it? i think this solution would be a lot easier than using a webcam...easier to hide too instead of an ibook.

OutThere
Aug 17, 2003, 03:24 PM
or just put up a sign that says the premises are being electronically monitored, if this doesn't work then go with a DV camcorder, if someone doesn't have one you can find webcams for very cheap online, that couild be hooked up to the linux computers, or a well hidden ibook.

tjwett
Aug 17, 2003, 03:35 PM
i don't know how it is down there but if that was going on around here they would probably just fire every employee on the spot. what's the point of trying to video tape them? you know more than one, if not all, the employees are stealing money. New York State law dictates that you are allowed to fire someone anytime you wish without even giving them any reason at all. what's the law like down there? if he knows everyone is stealing why not just get rid of everybody and move on. i just don't see how a video tape will help the situation, unless he plans on pressing charges. even then, there is no way to prove any of the amounts each person stole. it's pointless. and another thing, what the hell is a pizzeria doing with computers running Linux anyway? is this some kind of a franchise/fast food type pizza place. i ask because we don't really have those around here.

rainman::|:|
Aug 17, 2003, 04:18 PM
you guys could always put in a dummy camera... something that is visible to employees, not necessarily customers, that makes the employees very reluctant to take money... don't say anything about it, it'll make enough of an impact on it's own.

www.smarthome.com
has good security (and automation products...

RandomDeadHead
Aug 18, 2003, 05:28 AM
Originally posted by Johnboy
I have a high tech solution. How about if he just sits all the employees down in a meeting and tells everyone that there is some stealing going on and that it is unacceptable and it needs to stop.

He has done that.

The linux boxes are very old Eg, no usb or fire wire. And him nor I know much about linux, just that it is very inexpensive to run a pizza joint off of.

The dv camera is a better idea I know, but I dont know anyone who has one.

RandomDeadHead
Aug 18, 2003, 05:43 AM
Originally posted by tjwett
i don't know how it is down there but if that was going on around here they would probably just fire every employee on the spot.

Do you know how hard it is to find a decient adult to work in a pizza place? Especially in a town this small. Its hard enough to find enough high school idoits to fill the gaps, but decent working adults are the holy grail of the pizza industry. If you are lucky enough to get an all adult staff you just gotta work with what you got. He doesnt want to prosecute them, he just wants them to stop stealing money.


Originally posted by paulwhannel you guys could always put in a dummy camera...

Now there is a GREAT idea! A no risk scare tactic. We will look into it! Thanks Alot:)

Wes
Aug 18, 2003, 06:06 AM
Originally posted by RandomDeadHead


Now there is a GREAT idea! A no risk scare tactic. We will look into it! Thanks Alot:)


If you get one, make sure it has a tamper alarm or something, because if nobody is there, they are bound to check if it's real.

ibookin'
Aug 18, 2003, 11:25 AM
Originally posted by mnkeybsness
can't you just find someone with a dv camcorder and borrow it? i think this solution would be a lot easier than using a webcam...easier to hide too instead of an ibook.

As long as he doesn't need to record more than 2 hours of video (max for MiniDV format) this will work. I suggest hooking the DV camera up to a VCR with one of those 8 hour on EP tapes in it.

Kwyjibo
Aug 18, 2003, 11:42 AM
I'm not sure a cheap camera might even catch these people. I mean it wouldn't be ard to work a certain angle of the caera and drop someones change and them pocket it.......I have an extreme solution.... make them wear full body since piece suits like they do in vegas or where they coutn transit authority money...hehe Can' he find a single person or a group of trustable people to work the register...or a snitch... At my old work the kids were smarter, when there was no real manger they would fake ring up people and cancel the order like they were pricign a phone estimate.... and then pretend the total magically ended up at an even total and pocket the cash.

jtown
Aug 18, 2003, 02:36 PM
If he's really losing $45/day in cash, he's probably also losing as much or more in product (pizza fixins taken home, food given to friends, kitchen supplies disappearing, etc.). He'll be better off with a real surveilance system in the long run.

24 hour recorder (http://www.mpja.com/productview.asp?product=14631+ST) $310
4-into-1 compressor (http://www.mpja.com/productview.asp?product=14076+ST) $150
Full size B/W cameras (http://www.mpja.com/productview.asp?product=14363+ST) $80x4
Camera mounts (http://www.mpja.com/productview.asp?product=7475+MI) $12x4
Probably another $75 for wires, connectors, and power supplies at the shack.

The cameras go over the register (making sure to get a good view of the customer side as well), in the office, in the food prep area, and in the food storage area.

Yeah, that sounds like a lot of money but he's already losing $45/day. That's over $300 per week. Every month, he loses far more than the cost of a decent video system. That's just the cash that he knows is missing. Figure in lost product and it'll pay for itself even sooner. And I didn't even shop around. I just went to the first place I could remember that sells long-run recorders. You can probably get all that stuff for a lot less if you shop around. I also picked the more expesive full-size cameras because they need to be seen.

If you put in a webcam for a few days, it might work for a little while but it sends the message that you're not really serious about the problem. As soon as the camera disappears, the stealing will start back up. If the employees see a serious, permenant system being installed, they'll realize that the owner considers this to be a big problem. Also make sure to do some ethics training either while the system is being installed or just before it's installed. Hit them on more than one front. With a bit of luck, the stealing will stop before it's caught on tape and nobody will need to be fired. If not, an arrest should drive the point home.

Lanbrown
Aug 19, 2003, 08:37 AM
Originally posted by robbieduncan
Can he not use one of the existing Linux boxes for this? We set up a camera at work for a while that was connected to a Linux box. We got some motion detection software off the web that was designed for this sort of purpose and it all pretty much worked. I can find out exactly what we used on Monday... (as it was open source you could probably compile it to work on OSX if you are not willing to give up on the iBook).

All the reason not to use it; why support a company that does popup ads. There are alternatives out there, even Ethernet cameras.

sketchy
Aug 19, 2003, 10:28 AM
http://www.seaview.com/powerline/secureview.asp

for 150 and a vcr he can setup a hidden camera system. It is a wireless system, it runs the feed over the power lines in the building. any room with a plug can use the adapter and send the feed to a VCR. Cheaper then risking an iBook..

the camera is a light bulb. screw it into the socket and it gets it's power from the fixture. No wires...

Dave
(my first post was better, but I closed the browser...)

{edit}
You could RCA it to the iBook, but leave it locked up in an office..