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Man’s Hi-Def Home Surveillance Helps Nab 5 Armed Robbers

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(credit: CBS) Esme Murphy
Esme Murphy, a reporter and Sunday morning anchor for WCCO-TV, h...
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MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — The chilling kidnapping and robbery of a young woman in Minneapolis was captured on high-definition surveillance cameras.

It happened early last Tuesday morning in south Minneapolis. In the video, you can see a woman walking with two of the suspects down Lyndale Avenue.

Look closely, and you can see she is in a headlock.

The taller suspect is carrying her purse, and a closeup shows he reaches into his pocket and pulls out a handgun.

At the moment we first see the 24-year-old woman, she had already been forced to walk for two blocks.

At one point, a man emerges and appears to hand the suspects something. He is the alleged lookout.

Moments later, we see the lookout cutting across a yard, which triggers a homeowner’s alarm.

A car with two men is waiting in an alley. Its license plate is clearly captured. The woman is last seen with one suspect, who then makes her turn around before he runs to the car. The suspect holding the purse is smiling as he gets in, and they speed off.

The video was captured by a surveillance system on the home of a 74-year-old 3M retiree who, for 20 years, has used cameras to keep his home and neighborhood safe. We will call him Jim.

“There’s eight high-def cameras in the front, eight high-def cameras in the back,” Jim said.

His 16 surveillance cameras were rolling as always when he heard his backyard alarm. He watched the video, saw what happened and called 911 with the information and the license plate.

“I really feel bad for her because she … must have been terrified,” he said.

By then, the victim had also called police and reported her credit card stolen. Within minutes, the suspects tried to use it at a Minneapolis gas station. Police rushed to the scene and arrested all five suspects.

Minneapolis Police Inspector Todd Loining says all five men have lengthy criminal records, and all five will face armed robbery and kidnapping charges.

“His assistance was huge in this case,” Inspector Loining said.

For Jim, it is the latest in what police estimate are more than 100 suspects his cameras have caught.

“The prosecution just loves me because I have a 100-percent conviction rate,” Jim said.

All five men are being held in the Hennepin County Jail, each on $250,000 bail.

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