Cubmaster turns to hidden cameras to nab donation thieves

Cubmaster turns to hidden cameras to nab donation thieves »Play Video
Jane Brockbank donates some old fence posts to Cub Scouts Vancouver Troop 778 while Cubmaster Brian Sherbahn (background) helps unload her truck. Thieves have been stealing donated items out of the trailer and Sherbahn has set up a hidden video camera to catch them in the act.

BATTLE GROUND, Wash. - Cubmaster Brian Sherbahn has employed sting operations to confrontations to curb crooks from stealing from Cub Scouts, but now he's using hidden cameras.

Sherbahn set up a bright yellow trailer at a donation site at the corner of 72nd and 179th emblazoned with the words "Pack 778 Scrap Metal Drive." But some people, instead of giving, steal the metal from it.

Sherbahn looks after the trailer and hauls it to the scrap yard every few days. The scrap metal is turned into cash for Vancouver Troop 778.

"These are Cub Scouts," Sherbahn said. "Camp for them is $200 a piece, and we got 14 of them."
 
He says his troop would have more money saved up if people didn't help themselves.

"Give me five bucks and you can have that barbeque. You don't have to steal it," he said.

Last summer Sherbahn set up a sting, using a lawnmower as bait. He then parked behind some stairs a short distance away and watched people "as they drove past, and that little trailer got stolen five times in a day."

Now he's resorting to good old-fashioned embarrassment by setting up a hidden camera.

"We're getting all kinds of wonderful videos," he said. "There's a guy that comes up, which we call the 'sneaky weasel video' because he kind of does that Hamburglar walk and kind of sneaks around. We had a guy in a very expensive truck pull up and throw away – I don't know if it was a diaper or a paper towel, but why he drove all the way over here to throw something away, I don't know."

Sherbahn then posts the videos on Facebook where they are shared. He said he hopes the tactic will finally work. In fact, after one video got out, an old broken ladder mysteriously came back.

"It's nice to be able to put some pressure on and get their pictures out there so maybe someone talks to them and says, 'hey, that's not right.'"

If Sherbahn can figure out who's in the video, either by a license plate or a familiar face, he said he shares that information with the Clark County Sheriff's Office.