SAUSALITO (KPIX) — License plate readers helped police in Sausalito catch a suspected carjacker. Even though the cameras are a big aid to investigators, they are also prompting some privacy concerns.
The license plate recognition camera alerted police that the violent carjacker was driving into town Friday night, just before 7 p.m.
Within minutes, police pulled over the car and arrested 27-year-old Arthur Reznik from Los Angeles. Police released a passenger in the car.
“The occupant was a hitchhiker that Mr. Reznik had picked up as he was making his way up north,” said Lt. Bill Fraass of the Sausalito Police Department. “He was totally unaware the vehicle was stolen or taken in a carjacking.”
Police said just a couple of days ago, Reznik used an 8-inch knife to carjack a 2015 Chrysler in Huntington Beach.
“The license plate cameras have been spectacular because they allow us not only to get alerts of them — vehicles wanted with crimes or stolen vehicles entering our city — but they give us a post-investigative database, a tool to use to investigate what vehicles may have enter or exited our city,” said Fraass.
They’re only three ways to drive in and out of Sausalito. The police department installed nine license plate cameras at those three locations. Chances are if you’re driving into town, one of the cameras will snap a picture of your license plate.
“If you’re entering the city of Sausalito in a stolen vehicle, the likelihood is the greatest that you will be apprehended,” said Fraass.
Since they installed the cameras in May, officers have recovered 11 stolen cars and nabbed 14 criminals. Investigators say the cameras have even helped them track down some missing people.
Bill Haag lives right next to two license plate cameras.
“I’ve always felt safe in Sausalito, it’s a pretty safe town,” he said. “But this thing seems to give it one more level of safety.”
While everyone applauds the latest outcome, some are still hesitant about the recording.
Tourist Yahaira Flores said it feels a little invasive.
“But if it’s for your safety, it’s good I guess.”
“It’s worked out great in this particular incident,” said tourist Anna Mori. “It’s potentially a slippery slope to more oversight and more recording of our lives.”
Sausalito police say not only are the cameras helping them catch criminals, but they’re also serving as a deterrent.