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Burglars broke $18,000 robotic sewer camera, stole monitor

Jeff Bobo • Feb 3, 2014 at 4:20 PM

ROGERSVILLE — The Hawkins County Sheriff’s Office is looking for burglars who damaged an $18,000 sewer video camera last week that was stored in a truck parked at the Rogersville Sewer Treatment Plant.

The burglary was reported to the HCSO on Jan. 28, and is believed to have occurred sometime the previous day.

Rogersville Water superintendent Sean Hatchett told the Times-News Monday that his department has had the camera for about 15 years.

The camera will be sent away for repairs, but Hatchett said he believes it is ruined. A new sewer camera costs about $32,000, Hatchett said.

That robotic camera travels through sewer lines via remote control and sends video images back to some monitoring equipment that was kept in a truck.

It helps the sewer department locate problems such as clogs, root damage and breaks.

Although the camera was broken, the monitoring equipment, valued at $500, was stolen.

The culprits apparently broke into the fenced in sewer plant property at 620 Flora Lane, and burgled some vehicles that were parked in a darker part of the lot.

A brake line and a battery taken were also taken from one of the pickups.

“They raised the hoods on some old vehicles down there, and had the doors open,” Hatchett said. “That camera hangs on a hanger (in one of the trucks) and they knocked it off. They didn’t break into any of the buildings. I don’t know what they were looking for.”

Hatchett added, “The monitor and the DVD player they got are no good for anything except monitoring the sewer line. I don’t think they know what they had.”

City Recorder Bill Lyons said insurance should cover the cost of the damage and theft.

Anyone with information about last week’s sewer plant burglary is asked to call the HCSO at 272-4848.

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