Mark Taylor
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The Gardner Electric Utility Board is hoping to deter vandalism at its facilities with high tech security cameras.
Bill Krawczyk, electric utility director, said the cameras are in response to a break-in at a Gardner substation in May that resulted in an hour-long power outage for 2,000 to 2,500 electric customers.
Krawczyk said security cameras had long been a consideration, but “the vandalism put it on the front burner.”
“We should be a whole lot better off certainly than we are now,” he said.
The six cameras cost $3,000 each and are capable of recording for 15 to 17 days at a time and can be triggered by motion.
The “smart” cameras can be programmed to distinguish human beings and vehicles and to notify authorities when someone is on the property after hours.
The cost of monitoring is about $1,000 per year.
“If you avoid some kind of vandalism or theft, that $1,000 is nothing,” Krawczyk said.
Police are still looking for vandals who broke into Gardner’s Substation 2 at Main Street and Moonlight Road on May 29.The culprits cut a hole in the fence surrounding the property, cut locks on electrical boxes and damaged relays and switch gears, shutting off power for a third of Gardner’s electric customers in the process.
The suspects fled the scene when police arrived.
Police believe two persons were involved in the crime and that they were attempting to steal copper from the site.
The subsequent damage caused to the substation forced the electric utility to operate on alternate power for a couple of days after the break-in.
In other business, the board was informed that a “large commercial customer” is considering building a new, 1 million square foot warehouse at Midwest Commerce Center.
The facility would join the 1 million square foot Coleman warehouse on the property southeast of New Century AirCenter.
It would be built on the east side of the property.
Krawczyk said Gardner department heads were asked to write letters summarizing “what they could do” for the customer.
Krawczyk said the potential commercial customer is also considering locations in other cities, but wants to fast track the project and have it built and opened by fall of 2012.
“Maybe it’s the beginning of something good for us.” Krawczyk said.