"One time, they robbed my whole house," Zippilli said. "I also had a guy who stole a battery out of my truck. I was tired of it."
So Zippilli installed a home video surveillance system complete with eight separate cameras located around his property. He was ready for when he was targeted on Thursday while he was away.
"When I got home, I decided to check my video," he said. "I'd seen that the FedEx person had been here. About a minute later two gentlemen decided to take the FedEx package that the person had left there."
In broad daylight, Zippilli had become a theft victim yet again. But this time he had video evidence and he filed a report with the police.
Zippilli has joined the growing number of homes and businesses sold on video surveillance, trying to get the one-up on criminals.
"It seems like criminals go a little faster than the technology does, but every now and then we get leaps and bounds," said Kyle Milligan of Progressive Telcom, a St. Joseph company that sells the systems.
In addition to his job at Progressive, Milligan also works at Drum Monkey Percussion in downtown St. Joseph. Milligan installed a camera system in the store and says it's convenient for off-site monitoring.
"Anything that you can do to actually get a hold of those cameras and view them like on an I-Pad or even a computer off site," Milligan said. "That's the thing to look for now."
Experts say cameras can range in price from $250 all the way up to $1,000 or more. There are different kinds of cameras as well.
Some are stationary cameras that sense motion and then turns on to record. There are others that pan, tilt and zoom that can range a full area of motion.
"It's very, very handy to be able to look at a home surveillance system and see you've got people trying to steal things out of my backyard," said Charlie Nill, owner of St. Joseph Electronics. "There's a lot of convenience in knowing."
For Zippilli, he's got his man on video. Now he just needs some help in identifying and finding him.
"The police at one time had said that a picture is worth a thousand words," he said. "I'm like, well, what's this video going to be worth then?"
Anyone with information on either of the two men pictured in the video are asked to call the police Tips Hotline at (816) 238-TIPS.
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