Dec 12, 2013

Jugaad Security System

I own a book shop in Nainital and I live in a house just behind (attached to) the shop. As you enter my house there is a cupboard that we use to keep any spare cash (Small amounts that would be sent to the bank the next day) we might have form the day's sale. About 4 months back my mother started to notice money disappearing form the cupboard. First time my mum told me about the issue, I brushed it aside thinking it might have been a calculation error from our side. Then the same thing happened again another 2-3 times. This was more than a coincidence so we stopped using the cupboard for the purpose of keeping any sort of cash but we still did not know who was taking the money. We have a few staff members at our place (all of them had been with us for a considerable amount of time - some of whom had been working at our place for more than 20 years). Since the only people who had any access to the cupboard apart form the family were the staff member we suspected that one of them was up-to something.

We have a CCTV system installed in our shop and we could have easily installed another camera in the house to find out the culprit. This had 2 issues - 1) Who would actually sit down and go through the whole footage? Big waste of time 2) Who would want a surveillance camera inside the house?.

I had recently got 2 DSLRs for a workshop that I will be taking on DIY film-making and since I was currently only using one of them  I decided to put up the second one for finding out who the culprit was. I had a magnetic switch lying around and had a spare 2.5mm cable (from my experiments using an arduino as an intervellometer to capture time-lapse videos). Using just the cable, the magnetic switch attached to the cupboard and some duct tape I rigged up a camera trigger that would click a picture of the cupboard the moment someone opened or closed it. I set the Camera on a table (Nothing too obvious). Manual Focus. High ISO - 12800 (Because the room could get quite dark say when there is no-one there and the lights are turned off). The camera (Canon 600D) batteries last a long time when the LCD is turned off - about 2 days so that was not a problem.

Magnetic Switch

On the third day of the experiment there was a slight rush in the shop and I was busy at the Til. One of the staff members went inside taking advantage of the fact that I was distracted, opened the cupboard hoping to find some money (which was not there as we were not using that system anymore) and the camera got him. I went in for lunch and checked if any pictures was taken since morning and there he was caught in the act. We called the police. Got whatever money he had stolen form us back and fired the guy. Might not have been the most elegant security system but it got the job done. The local police kind of liked the whole idea because it reduced the amount of work they had to do.

Anyway here are the pics for the thief caught in action