On Lyndale Avenue, Jim Fiala's 16 cameras are always watching [VIDEO]

Categories: Crime
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Jim Fiala received an award from Minneapolis Police Chief Tim Dolan last fall
On Lyndale Avenue South, just across from the Loon grocery store, Jim Fiala's cameras are always watching.

About 15 years ago, Fiala's car was stolen out of his driveway, so he set up a camera in front of the house, a simple task for the retired electrical engineer. Over time, Fiala began adding more cameras. Today he has 16, eight in the front and eight out back.

They're on 24 hours a day.

"I never know when something's going to happen," Fiala says. "I'm not looking for something but I know that sometime, somewhere, in a day, a week, a month, something's going to happen."

Fiala's cameras have been helpful to the Minneapolis Police Department in numerous investigations and arrests. Records obtained by City Pages show that Fiala's videos have been used in cases ranging from graffiti to burglaries.

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Fiala's cameras caught this "crook" breaking into a neighbor's car
As far as police know, Fiala is a unique individual around town.

"Mr. Fiala has taken a very proactive role in providing video to us," says Minneapolis Police Sgt. William Palmer. "I'm not aware of anybody else that does it the way he does, at least as an individual. There may be some corporate entities that do but I'm not aware of a citizen who does it like that."

Fiala says he would "hate to think" about how many 911 calls he's made over the years.

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Fiala's camera captured this car crash in 2007
"Between my cellphone and the regular phone there's probably over 100 911 calls," Fiala says. He has a "whole box full" of "probably 150 cases" and related DVDs.

His surveillance tapes have taught him how to recognize when a crime is going to be committed.

"After you've seen all of the stuff I've seen you get to really know when somebody's up to no good," Fiala says. "It's a dead giveaway."

Of course, Fiala's cameras don't simply capture crimes in progress. With the CC Club, Leaning Tower of Pizza, and Mortimer's in the neighborhood, Fiala's seen his share of drunken shenanigans. And so have thousands of people he's shared the videos with on YouTube.

We've set up a microsite for anyone interested in seeing the world through Jim Fiala's cameras. Click here to see the Lyndale spy footage.





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