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Art Project Saves Thousands In Tech Goods From Being Stolen

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- A $50 gadget saved a Chelsea man from losing thousands of dollars worth of electronics to a burglar.

CBS 2's Cat Andersen spoke with Levent Cetiner, a systems administrator at the School Of Visual Arts, who explained how pictures of a burglary in progress inside of his home landed in his inbox.

Cetiner still seemed to be in disbelief.

"I don't know how to describe that feeling. I was shocked, I was totally shocked," he said, letting out a laugh.

On Tuesday morning a burglar entered his home from the roof, using a fire escape to climb in through the window. His neighbors were oblivious to what was going on.

The burglar was ready to make off with several of Cetiner's used laptops, computers which contain valuable information.

"They were used, but they contained all of my personal work, so to me they were priceless," he said.

When the images of the burglary hit his inbox Centiner said he called 911 and ran home, which is a block from his office.

The alleged burglar was still inside.

"He was still in there. It was locked from the inside. I shouted outside the door, you're being recorded. Just leave the stuff and leave the building," he said.

When police arrived they found Jose Perez Quinonez, 30, of West Harlem in the basement of the apartment building. Quinonez was arrested and Cetiner's laptops and iPad were returned.

Thousands of dollars worth of electronics saved thanks to a $50 camera that Cetiner installed himself.

When the camera detects any motion it instantly starts snapping pictures and e-mailing them to Cetiner. He bought the camera as part of an interactive art project.

The idea, Cetiner said, "is to interact with the artwork so the art responds to you."

It appears that Cetiner may have discovered a second purpose for the camera, and the idea is catching on amongst neighbors.

"I'll definitely have something installed by the end of the week," said neighbor Michael Shamrakov.

Cetiner met with the district attorney, who said that charges against the suspect are pending.

Have an innovative way of defending your home against would be burglars? Let us hear about it in our comments section...

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