Update to: A Neighborhood Strikes Back
On résiste à l’invasion des armées; on ne résiste pas à l’invasion des idées. – Victor Hugo
Translation: One resists the invasion of armies; one does not resist the invasion of ideas.
Persistence, once again, has paid off. Thanks to all of our supporters, sharers, friends, neighbors, and family, we are forcing the hand of Goliath. I would like to give a major shout-out to all my fellow Redditors for raising awareness. You people are awesome! Within minutes of posting A Neighborhood Strikes Back to the r/phoenix subreddit, I was contacted by Fox 10 in Phoenix. They wanted to run the story.
Contacting me through my site, I received this message:
“Hey, I saw your blog about the camera in your neighborhood. It’s crazy that someone could put something like that up and not say where it came from.
I’m with FOX 10 here in Phoenix (not FOX News), and we’d love to talk with you about it. Would you be willing to talk with a reporter?” (I am omitting contact information for the reporter which was included in this message.)
“Good work in getting that taken down!”
Calling back the numbers provided, I talked with Jill Monier. She was the reporter working the story and wanted to come by for an interview. Butterflies surged through my stomach at the thought of being on TV. Excited and slightly hesitant, I agreed to the interview and set the time with her.
She comes to us from FOX 13 Memphis where she was the weekend anchor.
During her six years in Memphis, Jill was nominated for six Emmys, winning one for an investigative report where she uncovered corruption in a small Arkansas town.
Recently, Jill was honored with a Regional Edward R. Murrow Award for reporting on the shooting death of two West Memphis police officers.
Over the course of her career, Jill has covered major national news stories including the Columbia Shuttle disaster, the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina and the 2008 Presidential debates.
Running a little behind schedule, she and her camera man arrived ready with questions. Jill appeared eager to get to the truth behind the story. After interviewing my wife and me, she wanted to get a shot of me under the light post as I described the placement and view of the camera. Receiving a phone call from her producer, she conversed in her Fox 10 company vehicle as the camera man directed me where to stand, and recorded me pointing towards the missing camera’s view. This is when things started to get weird.
Jill returned to inform me that her producer was looking to extend the run date of the story due to scheduling conflicts, requested call backs, and cryptic messages they were receiving from APS. For a seasoned reporter such as Jill, she could tell there was more to the story than she was being told. This was turning into something big, and we both knew it. Stating that she hoped it would air Monday and that she would be in contact with me, I thanked them and walked home.
Shortly after arriving at home, I heard that a Neighbor With More Information (NWMI) was talking with the reporter. Curious to hear any new developments, I returned to the area where I had spoken with Jill. Missing the interview by mere seconds, I was approached by NWMI. This individual asked not to be identified, and out of respect to my source, I will honor that request. I can only relay the story that was shared with me. APS remains silent and has yet to contact me.
NWMI appeared upset about the situation and asked if I had been blogging about the camera and if I had contacted the media. Explaining my side of the story brought others out of their homes. Our exchange was heated, but peaceful. By the time I had finished explaining the actions I had taken to find information about the anonymous camera, a small group had formed. Other neighbors began sharing their thoughts and feelings about Big Brother.
The story I received did little to quell my fear and anger about the intrusive, all-seeing eye. NWMI told the group that APS had installed the camera with the permission of the city of Phoenix in order to monitor metal thieves who were in possession of stolen property. An APS substation about a mile from here had been broken into, and one of the suspects in the case happened to live on this street. APS was running an investigation to see if they could catch him and his friends in possession of APS property.
Pictured below is the APS substation said to be involved in the case.
NWMI claimed that a “server room” at the APS Security office downtown had received a live feed from the neighborhood camera. However, how the data was transmitted to this APS room remains unclear. Reportedly, Phoenix Police were involved in this case, but APS was conducting it. How in the Hell a power company can get authorization to run a criminal investigation on a residential city street is beyond me. Rest assured, I am looking into it.
A picture was starting to develop, but the story had holes, giant ones. I started digging. The suspected thief under APS investigation had been arrested and jailed on drug charges prior to Christmas. While in jail evidence surfaced connecting our suspect to the stolen APS property, and a neighbor was cited as an investigative lead. Here’s the thing. The camera was installed two months after the suspect’s arrest. APS knew where he was, and his friends knew where he was. Placing a camera to catch a guy and his friends, when his friends don’t come around because he’s in jail, and installing it two months after his arrest makes little or no sense. My bullshit detector was pinging red.
Following up, Jill from Fox 10 called me back. The story was being pushed back again. She explained that after talking with Damon Gross, the APS Public Relations Representative, They would not be focusing on this specific case, but a broader scope. She was going to tackle the questions of who, how, and what can be done about it; and I was going to tell the story as it develops.
To be continued…
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