Camera Fan Lays Trap for Thief (Jul, 1940)

Camera Fan Lays Trap for Thief

Set a camera to catch a thief. That is the revised version of the old proverb which Joseph Marques, of Plymouth, Mass., used to trap a “phantom burglar” who had eluded police in fifteen robberies. An amateur photographer employed by a local theater, Marques rigged up a homemade camera trap and placed it in the office of the theater. As soon as the burglar forced a window and vaulted into the room, the mechanical sleuth went into action. In quick succession, a buzzer sounded, causing the thief to look in the direc^ tion of the camera; a magnet flipped open the shutter; and a relay set off photoflash bulbs. A bell frightened the intruder away before he could locate the camera. So clear was the resulting photograph that, within a few hours, the police announced the capture of the burglar.

  1. jayessell says: December 8, 20061:37 pm

    a) Is that Sean Penn?

    b) One of the Red Skelton Adventure/Comedies (The Yellow Cab Man?) he has a camera/burgurlar alarm in his apartment.
    In one scene, he runs out without turning it off, removes his hat and smiles for the camera, then resumes running.

  2. Daily Clerks says: March 8, 200711:07 pm

    […] Homemade auto-camera catches thief, Popular Science 1940 – Link. […]

  3. Jake says: October 3, 200711:55 am

    Something like this was also used, for the same pretense, in an episode of The Andy Griffith Show… Barney demonstrates the shutter tripping, but never reloads the camera, so they never get a picture of the theif.

  4. Bubba says: October 18, 20158:17 am

    I find it amazing that the photographer got such great modeled lighting from such a system — unless the photo was staged.

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