WILKES-BARRE — The city Parking Authority on Tuesday listened to concerns about recent vehicle break-ins at Park & Lock Central that services Movies 14 and other downtown businesses.
Frank Sorick, president of the Wilkes-Barre City Taxpayers Association, said he learned of the break-ins when he accessed the city’s Crime Watch website. He asked if the authority was aware of the incidents and whether the Hawkeye Security cameras aided in apprehending anyone.
“I’ve tried to get answers from the city through right-to-know requests, but I haven’t gotten a response,” Sorick said. “My concern is that if people feel the cameras aren’t helping and these crimes go unsolved, that less people will patronize downtown businesses.”
Liza Prokop, the city’s spokeswoman, said two press releases on the break-ins were missing from the lobby postings at the police station. She said police provided copies of the reports that showed two cars were broken into on June 16 — Father’s Day.
“The video tapes are being reviewed, but there is no conclusive evidence to identify the responsible parties,” she said. “More information will be released as the investigation continues.”
Sorick said one of the break-ins occurred directly under one of the Hawkeye cameras.
“If they aren’t effective, people won’t park there,” he said. “People will opt to go to Cinemark,” he said, referring to the cinema complex at Montage near Scranton.
Tom Torbik, the parking authority’s executive director, said the authority pays a fee to the city for the cameras, but the authority has no jurisdiction. The city and parking authority are two separate governmental bodies.
“It’s a police matter,” he said. “I really don’t know what this board can do about it.”
Board member Maryanne King asked, “Then what are we paying for?”
Matthew Price, project manager for LAZ Parking, said he asked in the past to review surveillance tapes, but has never been allowed.
Board member Jim Casey said he “feels better” knowing the cameras are there.
“The public needs to know if these criminals are caught,” Sorick said.
In other business, the authority will advertise for bids for a new rider sweeper. The current sweeper is 30 years old, Torbik said.
Price said he only knows of two companies that manufacture the sweepers. He was directed to work with Torbik to prepare bid specifications for the purchase.
Monthly revenue for the authority was up by $35,250, according to Price’s report.
Andrea Caladie of the ParenteBeard accounting firm reported its independent audit of the authority found no problems. Caladie said the new term used in accounting is “unmodified,” meaning the audit found no errors.