Need web cam and software to stop theif, please help!

Discussion in 'Macintosh Computers' started by RandomDeadHead, Aug 17, 2003.

  1. RandomDeadHead macrumors 6502

    Feb 8, 2003
    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!
  2. tazo macrumors 68040


    Apr 6, 2003
    Pacific Northwest, Seattle, WA actually
  3. RandomDeadHead thread starter macrumors 6502

    Feb 8, 2003
    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.
  4. 4409723 Suspended


    Jun 22, 2001

    My worries exactly as I was reading the story.
  5. Johnboy macrumors newbie

    Mar 30, 2003
    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.
  6. Sun Baked macrumors G5

    Sun Baked

    May 19, 2002
    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.
  7. robbieduncan Moderator emeritus


    Jul 24, 2002
    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).
  8. vanillamike macrumors regular

    Jan 7, 2003
    Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
    What about the X10 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.

  9. ZeppelinArmada macrumors member

    Mar 26, 2003
    Mostly here
    As far as the software goes EvoCam 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.
  10. mnkeybsness macrumors 68030


    Jun 25, 2001
    Moneyapolis, Minnesota
    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.
  11. OutThere macrumors 603


    Dec 19, 2002
    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.
  12. tjwett macrumors 68000


    May 6, 2002
    Brooklyn, NYC
    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.
  13. rainman::|:| macrumors 603


    Feb 2, 2002
    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.
    has good security (and automation products...
  14. RandomDeadHead thread starter macrumors 6502

    Feb 8, 2003
    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.
  15. RandomDeadHead thread starter macrumors 6502

    Feb 8, 2003
    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.

    Now there is a GREAT idea! A no risk scare tactic. We will look into it! Thanks Alot:)
  16. 4409723 Suspended


    Jun 22, 2001

    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.
  17. ibookin' macrumors 65816


    Jul 7, 2002
    Los Angeles, CA
    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.
  18. Kwyjibo macrumors 68040


    Nov 5, 2002
    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.
  19. jtown macrumors 6502

    Jul 3, 2003
    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 $310
    4-into-1 compressor $150
    Full size B/W cameras $80x4
    Camera mounts $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.
  20. Lanbrown macrumors 6502a

    Mar 20, 2003
    All the reason not to use it; why support a company that does popup ads. There are alternatives out there, even Ethernet cameras.
  21. sketchy macrumors regular

    Jul 24, 2003
    Richmond VA

    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...

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

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

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