Theft at West Side Market sparks investigation into out-of-service security cameras: I-Team

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CLEVELAND, Ohio (WJW) – The FOX 8 I-Team is investigating security cameras not working at the West Side Market, a Cleveland landmark already troubled by frequent power outages, and more.

A thief hit a vendor’s fruit business, and the vendor found a security camera that should have caught it was not working.

So, he turned to the I-Team.

George Harb makes a living selling one piece of fruit at a time.

He says he’s paid rent to run a stand at the West Side Market for decades.

But last month, someone stole an expensive piece of equipment used to haul fruit to the stand.

And George says, two people from the Market front office told him the security camera closest to his stand is out of service.

Harb said, “And I asked about this camera. Doesn’t work.”

Harb added, “Well, I think the people in here doesn’t do their job. Doesn’t do their job.”

This comes as FOX 8 has shown you vendors have lost patience with how City Hall has managed the market. The market has often lost power.

Now, word has spread of security cameras not working.

Yet, City Hall has been avoiding questions about this.

Last week, we started emailing questions to the Mayor’s Office.

We got no answers days ago.

So, twice, we went to the West Side Market office looking for someone to tell us what’s going on with the cameras.

People at the office told us, they did not have the authority to discuss this.

Finally, after five days, the Mayor’s Office finally released a statement admitting the Market’s main camera system was down for weeks. And new camera equipment has not been fully installed.

A spokesperson wrote, “The City of Cleveland is currently installing new state-of-the-art cameras at the West Side Market. These cameras connect to the Cleveland Division of Police Real Time Crime Center and are part of the Division’s comprehensive strategy to create more targeted intelligence and monitoring throughout the entire city. The equipment has been ordered and we are awaiting a confirmed delivery and install date from our vendor.

The existing cameras at the market are part of an external system and not part of the city’s public safety camera infrastructure. A storm on July 17 caused the monitors on that system to malfunction, however, the cameras were not damaged. The monitor was replaced on Aug.11. The existing system is functioning and now connected to the replacement monitor.”

Meantime, a camera at a business nearby captured what the Market did not: a video of the person stealing George’s equipment.

Ultimately, that video helped police find the equipment and identify a suspect.

Multiple sources tell FOX 8 the camera out of service near George’s stand is a part of the new video system at the Market slowly being installed but never fully hooked up.

The longtime vendor making a living selling one piece of fruit at a time can’t help but feel neglected.

George Harb said, “From five years ago this market’s been going down. Going down because nobody cares.”

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