ELK GROVE (CBS13) – A center for teens was targeted by a man who appeared to be dressed as a security guard. Surveillance video captured the man lurking around the building and eventually stealing the security camera at Teen Center USA.
“There would be no reason why someone who is in law enforcement would be ripping off a video camera,” said Goldeen Smith, Executive Director at Teen Center USA.
Smith told CBS13 it happened around 4:30 a.m. on Thursday, but she didn’t discover the surveillance video until later that morning. She noticed one of the center’s security cameras was missing so she checked the footage.
“I was actually by myself as I’m watching this,” Smith recounted. “Everything in me just wanted to scream but it was like ‘What is he doing?’ And then just looking closer at the footage and just realizing oh he looks like he’s dressed as a police officer or some kind of security officer.”
Teen Center USA doesn’t have a security guard and neither do other nearby businesses, according to Smith. The video shows the man stopping near the church across the street before heading to the center. He checked the doors but they were locked. With a large stick in his hand, he continued to walk around the building until he reached one of the cameras.
“I’m pretty sure he’s thinking ‘What do I do?’” Smith said. “’Cause obviously my face got caught on this camera.’”
Thankfully, Smith says he didn’t get inside.
“You know, I just don’t feel like we’re safe anywhere these days so we just have to be as cautious as we can,” said Kim McCorstin, who volunteers across the street.
Smith called Elk Grove police, who stopped by to investigate. She didn’t file a report, saying having added patrol in the area is sufficient for now.
“That definitely quelled any anxiety that I had,” Smith said.
Still, she posted the man’s picture to social media as a heads up to other Old Town businesses.
“We need to let other people know to be careful and aware of their surroundings,” Smith said.
Teen Center USA is a place for kids to stop by, do homework and hang out in a safe place. Smith says she bought new floodlights Thursday to keep the building well lit. Her main priority remains to preserve the safe space in her community.