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Baby monitor helps catch Calif. church thieves

Baby monitoring system AP Graphics

(CBS/SACRAMENTO) CARMICHAEL , Calif. - With the help of a simple baby monitor usually used to alert parents to a crying infant, members of a Northern California church managed to nab two suspected thieves who returned for a third straight night.

Baby monitor as surveillance device. Why didn't you think of that?

Just hours after a report by CBS Sacramento on the repeated copper theft at the church, the alleged suspects returned to the scene of the crime, but this time, church officials were ready.

They had set up a baby monitor on top of the Carmichael Bible Church, hooked it up to a screen and VCR, and took shifts watching it.

Around 4:30 Friday morning, more than six hours into the overnight stakeout, the alleged thieves returned and Pastor Jeff Livingston was watching. He saw the suspects return, alerted other members of the church and called authorities, CBS Sacramento reported.

Sacramento County Sheriff's deputies arrived shortly thereafter and arrested the pair, identified as Howard Sanders, 26, and Curtis Darnell, 36.

Detectives are currently trying to determine if the two are responsible for the previous break-ins.

The pastor had this to say about the successful stakeout: "Like an adrenaline rush, 'Hey guys come out here, come out here, they're there," he said. "I believe that justice is served to the wicked. Sometimes we see that and sometimes we don't. This time we got to be a part of it happening, so it feels good," added pastor Livingston.

The church is without heat right now because thieves grabbed copper from the heating and cooling system.

The damage will likely add up to more than $50,000.

Sanders and Darnell were each charged with felony counts of vandalism, grand theft and criminal conspiracy.