Bushnell trophy cams are tracking thieves instead of deer in New York City's dark subway tunnels.
Officers from the New York Police Department's Transit Bureau are using the deer cameras to catch thieves who steal copper piping from the city's subway tunnels, reports the New York Times.
The trophy cams are a practical solution to a crime problem that's been around for years. Copper piping is worth $24 a foot in New York City, and the city's subway tunnels are filled with it. In the past, thieves would use the darkness and remoteness of the tunnels to take as much copper as they wanted.
"If they're in a tunnel and there's no one around, they can spend all day down there," said Detective Nino Navarra, who came up with the idea to use the cameras to catch the thieves in the act.
Photo via Cabela's
Last September, Detective Navarra and his partner Sgt. Kevin Cooper attached five trophy cams to poles near tunnel areas with copper piping. The cameras are motion activated, have night vision and can take a timestamp when an object comes into view.
"Within three hours of the first camera being installed at one location, copper cable thieves were caught on camera and eventually arrested," said Kevin Ortiz, a spokesman for the Metropolitan Transportation Authority.
Now, copper thieves are thinking twice before venturing down into the city's sprawling subway tunnels.
Since last September, the cameras have recorded nine incidents of trespassing, and two people have been arrested as a result.
What's next? Deer blinds to catch pocket thieves in Central Park?