Sunday, July 27, 2014

Chief: Sherman Hills cameras not working

Wilkes-Barre police chief says only upgrade has been installation of a fence

July 18. 2014 12:12AM

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WILKES-BARRE — Surveillance cameras in Sherman Hills did not record Tuesday’s shooting at the troubled apartment complex when two men were seriously injured, city police Chief Gerard Dessoye said Thursday.

Dessoye said the camera system, he believed, was “not fixed” as pledged by the complex’s former owner, Sherman Hills Realty Inc.

“(Cameras) couldn’t provide any details about the shooting,” Dessoye said, noting he has not seen any security enhancements at the apartment complex besides the installation of a chain link fence.

U.S. Rep. Matt Cartwright, D-Moosic, stated in a news release that Treetop Development, which purchased the apartment complex from Sherman Hills Realty earlier this year, “repaired all cameras.”

Cartwright’s deputy chief of staff, Shane Seaver, clarified the discrepancy on Thursday.

“The current camera system has been reviewed and repaired by Treetop Development. The digital video recording system was knocked off-line by a power outage a week prior to Tuesday evening’s event. Treetop Development has ordered battery backup systems for each DVR system within the complex,” Seaver stated.

Cartwright helped form the Sherman Hills Task Force in response to a late 2013 report by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, which paid Sherman Hills $1.7 million last year to provide low-income housing at the 344-unit complex.

HUD called the apartment complex “life-threatening” for residents finding inoperable surveillance cameras, insufficient exterior lighting, broken doors and windows and lax financial oversight.

Sherman Hills Realty pledged to make repairs and improvements before the sale was publicly announced by Cartwright at a task force meeting earlier this year.

During a March 13 meeting with HUD Regional Director Jane Vincent and other officials, Cartwright insisted that Treetop Development continue with the repairs that were promised by Sherman Hills Realty.

Security and physical enhancement costs were expected to be $100,000.

Dessoye said all that he has seen was a chain link fence, nothing more.

“We’re still responding to the same number of calls as we had been,” Dessoye said. “We had a significant event with the shooting there a few days ago and there was no security in place that gave us information.”

Police said two men in their 20s were shot during an attempted robbery. The men were found in building 328 at about 11:30 p.m. Tuesday.

One of the men was shot in the left leg and the other man was shot in the torso, police said.

No charges have been filed in the shooting.

Nearby in the Interfaith Apartment Complex on Coal Street, police said a man was found with a gunshot wound to his arm at about 12:30 a.m. Thursday.

Police said the man was uncooperative and refused to provide his name. He claimed he was shot behind buildings in the area, police said.

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