Subscriber Discussion

What Is The Funniest Thing You Saw In Your Security Career?

The paper camera thread gave me a pretty good laugh, and with another round of snow about to hit us, I could use another one.

Mine was back in my days of selling EAS systems. I had a store in the Midwest with the EAS antennas set up very similar to this picture, except the antenna closest to the wall was only about 8" away and the wall was brick.

A very "large" suspected shoplifter thought if she squeezed between the wall and the EAS antenna she wouldn't set off the alarm with the merchandise she had allegedly stolen. The antennas are bolted to the floor and the metal tube style antennas didn't have a lot of flex. About halfway through her potential escape she became wedged between the wall and the antenna. Of course the EAS alarm started beeping and the light started flashing. At this point she began screaming for help and the employees responding had no idea what to do.

They spent a few minutes trying to get her out before calling 911. Both Fire and Police were dispatched. Once FD got there they looked at the situation for a few minutes and decided extraction was the best course of action. Luckily they did turn off the power supply first. They then used the jaws of life to cut through the antenna. This worked pretty well and the suspect was escorted off to jail.

The account showed me the video which I would love to have had a copy of, but of course they couldn't give me. Of all the things I've seen in 23 years of security sales, this was the funniest.

I've learned that many surveillance operations include a "Hall of Fame" folder of exported clips of people captured picking their nose, making out, or ralphing all over themselves in a drunken stupor.

Very common for a client to say "YOU GOTTA SEE THIS" seconds before bringing up that clip of some dude spewing on the sidewalk.

This clip came from an old customer who had a couple of convenience stores in Louisville, KY.

The quality blows - it's been copied many times - but the audio makes up for it...

The view is over the shoulder of the cashier standing in her bullet-resistant cage, dispensing (primarily) beer to the locals.

One of the customers apparently made a remark about her 'attitude'... her in-depth response is one of the funniest rants ever. [WARNING - NOT SAFE FOR WORK]

Note: About halfway through her rant, the next customer is putting money into the slot, trying to get his own beer. Her handling of him - right at the end of the clip - is priceless.

I added a not safe for work reference...

Outside of the crazy attitude, I am surprised that they were recording audio. Is audio recording common at convenience stores?

Me too, only because Marty is usually a tough butt on audio recordings and makes them disclaim...

Carlton and Ari seem to argue that body language is just as effective to determine employee rudeness over here, but I give y'all a challenge watch the video again with no sound and tell me could you fire her over that?

Not always just as effective. Effective for specially trained, highly experienced supervisors. You've never waited tables, have you?

And, no, I couldn't fire her with no audio because 1) I can only see the top of her awesome hair, so I can't really see anything useful about her body language, and 2) I can't see the customer's reaction. I'm going to go ahead and assume the bar's security cameras give a three quarter view, and show the customers as well, allowing a manager or wait captain to see how service is going, even without the audio (which probably wouldn't work in a noisy bar anyway, legalities aside).

You've never waited tables, have you?

Can't rightly say I have, but I did take a trip out to your throgs neck of the woods once. Ate at one of them 'parkway diners' off that Sunrise Highway, the ones with the 400 page handwritten laminated menus, and that's just for breakfast! I asked the gal what type of grits they was serving. She said "what's grits"?

After my short but informative historical exposition on the importance of the lowly grit, and then me teasingly telling her how without grits her name would likely be "Natasha" or "Olga" , she proceeded to mutter every insulting name in the book, from "hick" to "dumbf***" to "redneck", all the time with a smile wider than the L.I.E. (in both directions!).

I would swear on a (short) stack of Bibles that her lips never even twitched once!

What's a grit?

A grit is like a latka except its made with corn instead of potato and ground instead of pressed and boiled instead of fried and popular in the southeast instead of northeast.

So not really alike except they're two foods alot of people eat that alot more never have. Recent studies have shown the common members of the two groups to share exactly four people, all of which can be traced back to accidental ingestion.

So... unsweetened Cream of Wheat, except made out of corn?

One of our techicians on a large school project installed a camera on the wall outside and then went over to one of these 50gal metal garbage cans commonly used in schools and proceeded to deficate IN FRONT OF THE CAMERA HE JUST INSTALLED!!!! It took some fancy talking with the customer to separate the company (mine) from the idiot (the tech) but definitely one of those laughable moments. The amazing stuipidity of some people huh?

Oh boy, I am not sure that one is going to get topped....

Did he ever explain why he did it? Was it some sort of protest? Or did he just really need to go to the bathroom?

Tech A: <bloated> Drops growler in trashbin, moves offscreen


Undisclosed A: <In damage control mode> "Hold on now. There is simply no other camera on the market that would capture this with such clarity! You got your man, didn't you?! In fact, I'm thinking whitepaper!"

LOL Brian...that's pretty much how I handled it. Thought about trying to put a spin on having done it as a set up/test & demonstration but didn't think the customer would find the humor in that as a choice of "criminal acts" to portray.

Come on now, out with the second half of that joke, the part where you ax poor "Duke", or better yet, let him stay for years of wise cracks to come!! How 'bout calling him in the monitoring station to praise his "work" and then watch his expression as you start to roll tape?

Big deal. BRS Labs already did a white paper on this incident. BEFORE IT HAPPENED.

I guess he just needed to go and it never occurred to him that he might be video taped doing it.

That would just be cruel. Imagine what likely would have happened in this day & age - that would have gone viral. I think he learned his lesson just in being called out verbally & fired. Doubt if he stayed in the security industry, he was just a young kid (early 20's) so I like to think he learned, moved on and is successful and happy in whatever career he chose.

Unrelated to security, but there was a thing on CBC Market place (I think) about repair men in general. The caused an easy problem and tried to determine if companies were intentionally ripping people off (hidden cameras). There was a dishwasher problem and an issue with the garage door. If I remember correctly they called in three different companies for each problem. One of the dishwasher repair men took a piss in a cup, right at the dishwasher (though he did wash it out). And one of the garage door repairmen took a piss in the corner of the garage (inside the garage). So I guess your tech has moved around, or he's not the only one!

Blew me away. Trying to find the link now.

Found it:

It's the full episode though, 45 minutes. About 23:30 in is the first guy who pees in a cup.

One would hope that the camera was there first, but you never know...

They probably just put it where the bid spec's told them to put it.

Years ago I worked for a company that primarily serviced the banking industy. My job was to install/service 35mm film cameras (activated by a money clip in the cash drawer) and also 16mm continuous film cameras. Our lab technicians job besides developing film was to provide verification photos back to the branch on a regular basis. One day, upon developing some film, it was discovered that someone placed a chrismas tree right in front of the camera! The lab technician promptly got on the telephone with the person who changes the film each week in the branch to which they replied...ok, we've moved it over a couple of's that?

That reminds me of a story of a collegue of mine who had his wife convinced that Google maps was live video and had her jumping while waving her arms in the backyard.

I'm sure the neighbours were wondering what on earth was happening there. He had a good chuckle out of it.

Several years ago we were performing a walkthrough with the head of security, selecting camera locations. We needed to determine possible pathways for a potential location near an escalator. There was a small closet under the escalator that we opened. As we did so a sleeping guard woke up and moved past our group of four that included his boss. No one said anything which made it that much more comical. I'm pretty sure that guard was fired that day.

Finished installing a nice IP based surveillance system a few weeks before a retail store was set to open. This was before the sheet rock was installed. The location of the cameras was largely determinted by the architectural drawings.

Come back a few weeks later to check out a problem and see one of the cameras were recording the dressing room! Someone last minute changed the location of the dressing room and decided not to tell us. Quickly disabled that camera and removed it. I am surprised no customer complained about the camera there though as it was very obvious.

I was a journeyman electrician back in 1974 (we had to carry IBEW cards) working in the banking industry. I went to my first bank holdup very early that morning. Our company was a contractor for Diebold and Mosler. I was greeted by FBI and had to turn over a 16mm film from a Bolex camera for development.

Later that day I was contacted by the FBI headquarters to witness holdup and to see if I recognized perpetrator. As the B/W film started rolling I watched every teller unload cash drawers in alleged robbers bag.

Upon exiting he withdrew his loaded 38 special walked directly to front lens of camera and shot point blank ending this film with quite a flash! Well needless to say it was reasonably obvious with a full facial look this criminal was going to be captured.

Within in a few hours later news had made the radio stations. A suspicious bar owner called in to report a man who was drunk buying everyone drinks who never could afford his own. As the story goes he paid up his bar tab and it was time to celebrate. He was three blocks from the bank and a local customer.

Guy managed to 1) hit the Bolex and 2) miss the film? Dang. That is some unlucky shooting.

I remember my dad showing me an old Bolex camera and telling me the film was in the camera itself. I started arguing with him, telling him that edge recording was the stupidest thing I'd ever heard of and that only centralized recording to a time lapse VCR in a secure room inside a lockbox was safe and reliable. And now I argue for edge recording and tell people not to use an NVR in many situations. Just proves what goes around, comes around.

I got a behind the scenes tour from a security director that oversaw LP operations for about 150 grocery stores in his state. In a couple of high theft stores, he reprogrammed the system so the shopping cart wheel lock engaged at the doorway if the cart didn't first go through a register line. He showed me a "best of" reel of would be thieves' carts locking up at the door.

The reaction was almost always the same: first surprise, then panicked attempts to force the cart outside despite the locked wheel, quickly followed by the thieves running away into the parking lot, leaving behind the cart with diapers, razors, booze, etc. According to the security director, this was the desired effect: no confrontation, no police involvement and the goods left behind.

The video collection was amusing and I was surprised by the variety of people attempting to steal: everything from families with kids in tow to senior citizen couples.

Vance, that is pretty neat and sounds like an interesting tactic to deal with high theft stores. Was it adopted more widely?

John, that was a few years ago and I haven't spoken with him since. But from what he said at the time, it was a very effective way to reduce theft and my guess is that it was implemented in all of the stores that would allow him to duplicate that functionality. It's great use of technology. I always assumed shopping cart locks were used only deterring theft of the cart off the premises. Using them to prevent merchandise theft at the store exit is much more compelling.

I once had a technician go out to install some analog box style cameras in a pharmacy from the ceiling, he mounted the cameras and procedded to aim and focus them using his "watch-cam" and then connected the coax and left once he was done. Turns out I received a call the next day from the customer wondering why all his images were upside down? turns out the installing tech upon seeing the inverted image, instead of flipping the camera mount from the bottom of the box camera to the top simply flipped over his "watch-cam" and aimed and focused - guess the image was supposed to auto-flip once focused?? I still get a laugh to this day when I tell this story...

What's a watch cam? i want one!

Jim, if you get one of those hand held watch cams just make sure your's has the video image oriented correctly.. (LOL)

I have several stories where a facility had its cameras removed. Both by in house personnel who had ample knowledge that the images were recorded. We go back and look at the video and the guy looks into the camera as he removed them. It was an onsite security guard who interacted with the camera system - we had trained him and others on how to use the system.

Somehow he forgot that the video could review recordings as well?

Could at least have taken the DVRs, he knew where those were too.

Me. You're lookin at him.

So my 5 year old Stardot box camera needed upgrade to more zoom. So I go down to see the 'guy' and tell him to give me best zoom for my stardot. He sells me Computar 8-48mm, he asks if I need help, I tell him "do you know what IPVMU certified means?, it means that you don't need help, you just give it out and ask questions later!" Ah, what a dogshit he can be but in a nice way too! He I guess, was not familiar with forum.

So I get home put on my top-of-the-shelf zoomer, and its totally out of focus, trying in and out and rubber bands and paper clips and 13 hours later worse picture ever. But I am not really IPVMU certified, so I go back to the guy and say "this zoomer has broken focus", he tries it and says "no its good" and says "did you use c/cs adapter, I said "yeah, but mine is not too good, can I borrow yours for a while?" he says sure "IP", from now he starts calling me "IP"

So he gives me this black thing and I say "yeah nice, this is a good one" And I take it home and its deja vu again only worse and everything totally out of focus, trying toilet paper roll and rubber bands, tightened yarn and more paper clips and worst focus still going up to 15 hours no sleep (still), I go back to the guy and say "this c/cs adapter thing is bullass!" and I'm telling on IPVM you sell broken adapters. And then like Marty the Magician he unscrews the one adapter from the other one and says smiling , "ok IP, which one is the bad one?"

Cute, but I'm afraid I'm gonna have to call 'bullass' on this one, unless of course you can produce the actual footage from the install, maybe sped up to 1000 FPS?

Wanna see something funny? Here's a trade-specific practical joke to play on your co-workers, especially the 'new guy', that's sure to provide plenty of after-hours ribbing at the 'Rusty Nail' or the 'Leaky Grommet' or whatever your watering hole is called...

Here's what you need for the bare bones setup:

Equipment: Surveillance camera with two-way audio. VMS software with viewing monitor

People: Good actor with impeccable timing. New guy.

Location: Ideally Distance of > 50 feet between camera and VMS viewing monitor, preferably with a door between the two and somewhat out of earshot. Ideally two points of exit from viewing room.

Here's the basic idea for the gag: You tell the newbie that you need help making some adjustments to a camera's mount, zoom, focus or whatever makes sense. Then,

1. Secretly change from Live view to Playback view on the VMS viewer and start playback, having it run 1 minute behind what the actual time is. Maximize window to hide any indication of playback mode.

2. Tell the newbie to watch the monitor until you 'get out there'.

3. Leave the room (in front of his view for best effect), and when out of sight, hightail it to the camera.

4. Make an adjustment that is sure to make newbie comment, then do a bunch of 'hows that?' with appropriate pauses. Alternating between overcompensating on the right and the left will give a real sense of interaction later! Get closeups of your face in the camera as much as possible. Do this for 60 seconds.

5. Suddenly as if shocked, pull back a foot or two from the camera and look into the lens and quickly say "Who the f*** are you?" as you shift your gaze up and to the side of the lens. Count to three and add "No, who the f*** are you?"

6. Hightail it back to the viewing room, entering quietly from behind the back of newbie.

7. Newbie should be fully engaged 'helping' you by then. Wait for newbie to turn around to see 'who the f*** is behind' him (they always will, even though it doesn't make sense), and deliver "Who the f*** are you?" to yourself.

8. Apply smelling salts/ice pack to newbie as necessary.

For maximum enjoyment, an additional camera may be used to capture the newbie action/reaction during the whole gag. Playback the whole gag in multi-camera mode, instead of answering any questions. Enjoy.

Oh yes, the good old days. I remember having to calm a rock star's agent who was screaming at our security guard and then me because the guard responded to the home alarm and saw his naked girlfriend trying to break in to the back of the house. She locked herself out while sun bathing and had set the alarm. I reminded him the guard did show up quickly, did go into the back yard as requested and hung around to make sure she was in good shape until the manager arrived home.

Boss puts cam outside office, workers retailiate.  


Note innovative binder clip mount.