Maybe Edwin Vargas doesn’t understand how cameras work.
On Wednesday, prosecutors charged the 20-year-old Southwest Side man with destroying a Chicago Police Department “blue light” surveillance camera near his home. And then doing it again this week — five days after the city repaired the device.
Police responded to the corner of 45th and Talman to see who was destroying the department’s pole-mounted camera shortly after midnight November 18. Officers stopped Vargas and two others nearby, but the cops couldn’t immediately confirm that the trio was responsible for attacking the camera, which provides a real-time live feed to the police department.
The camera was found “off of the mount, damaged, and non-functional,” a prosecutor said Wednesday.
Footage from the video’s final moments shows two people carrying a ladder to its pole. Vargas is allegedly seen at the top of the ladder as the camera shakes and falls off. Then, Vargas allegedly hit the camera, and the device broke.
City workers replaced the camera on December 10.
Tuesday, patrol officers saw three people running from the corner of 45th and Talman as a ladder crashed to the ground under the newly-replaced surveillance camera.
Cops chased the runners and detained Vargas. Other officers reviewed the new camera’s surveillance feed, which allegedly showed Vargas holding the ladder as another man climbed to the top and hit the camera until police stumbled onto the scene.
Prosecutors said Vargas identified himself in video footage from both incidents.
Damage to the cameras allegedly totaled $15,202.
Vargas was charged Wednesday with two felony counts of criminal damage to government property. Judge Mary Marubio ordered him held without bail for violating the terms of bond in a pending stolen motor vehicle case. Once that matter is resolved, he can go home on electronic monitoring by posting a $1,500 deposit bond on the new case, she said.