A camera hidden in a teddy bear has caught a care worker stealing money from the home of an old age pensioner in the UK.
According to a report in the UK's Daily Telegraph, 28-year old care worker Emelie Kleen-Barry was caught red handed stealing from 81-year old grandmother Margret Birch by the hidden camera. She was jailed at Leicester Crown Court for 13 months for stealing £40 in cash from Birch's home.
Mrs Birch kept her purse in a wardrobe in her room, but when funds appeared to be diminishing faster than she expected, her family planted the so-called "Teddy Cam" in her room and focused it on the wardrobe to find out what was happening to the money.
The family called the trap 'Operation Narnia' and the device soon came into its own when it caught Kleen-Barry taking money from the grandmother's purse.
"In my professional opinion, Teddy Cams and other hidden cameras are the best way to give peace of mind to families and friends who are worried about what goes on when they can't be around to care for vulnerable people," says Kristy George, a spokesperson for the Birmingham, UK-based firm Private Detective (Birmingham, UK).
That company claims to have had great success in the past with Teddy Cams. Not only are they an excellent way to keep an eye on an elderly or infirm relative of friend who lives alone or in warden controlled home, they can also can be given to a child to find out how they are being cared for by others when the parents are not around.
Clearly, such wireless monitoring devices can be a great boon for those with elderly parents or those with small children. But such Teddy Cameras are not inexpensive. One such bear from Eyetek Surveillance (Chaddesden, UK) that comes equipped with a color camera and transmitter which transmits video to a receiver currently retails in the UK for £145 (almost $220).
Faced with similar surveillance issues, those of us with an engineering bent might like to consider constructing our own such bears instead of buying one. Certainly, it's an idea that has caught the imagination of our European Editor Dave Wilson.
He tells me that he could pick up a wireless camera and receiver for around £45 ($68) from UK electronics gizmo supplier Maplin that he is almost certain he could retrofit quite easily to the somewhat elderly bear from his childhood.
Soon then, the unfortunate beast might be taken from the upstairs cupboard where he has lived for the past fifty years only to have his soft delicate insides drawn out to make way for the new vision-based implant.
1. Thieving care worker caught on camera inside teddy bear
2. Eyetek Surveillance Wireless Teddy Camera
3. Discreet Wireless Colour CCTV Camera