CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - Surveillance video used as evidence in a crime has come a long way. No longer is it grainy and hard to see. And now, police can couple voice identification to the pictures as an aid to solving a case.
A recent example - a robbery on South Tryon Street.
At a gaming business on South Tryon, the doors are usually locked. You have to knock to get in. At 1 a.m. last Friday, two men in hoodies wanted in.
"There's a policy, obviously, where no hoodies are allowed. They want to be able to see your face," said CMPD Detective Tori Roddey.
With their hoods pulled down, one of the men reaches inside his pants and draws out a shotgun. He had been concealing a shotgun in his pants. The clerk who let them in was duly surprised.
"And the thing is, the shotgun is about as big as he is - a little short guy," Detective Roddey said.
Short, but in control. He orders his partner to rob two customers sitting at a gaming table.
We hear him say, "Gimme your phone, gimme your phone, and stand up."
"They took their cell phones because they didn't want them, of course, to call 911," Roddey explained.
This is where the robbery could have gone very bad.
"Nobody move now," the crook can be heard saying.
As they wait to open the cash register, the man with the shotgun wants what's in the safe.
"You got to open that safe brother," he says.
But the clerk responds, "I swear to God, I don't have a key."
We see them empty the cash drawer, then you can hear the agitation in the voice as they escort the employee to the office.
"You gotta open that up," one of the men says, "you gotta open that up."
We really can't see it because they move to the back room, but we get a glimpse of the man with the shotgun poking and prodding the clerk to open the safe.
"He hesitated. He wasn't going to open it. Then they put the shotgun up to his head and he let them in," Roddey said.
After stealing $3,800, there was one last command: "Get down."
With the money in a bag, the crooks were seen running toward Southside Homes across the street.
Police are concerned about these shotgun robbers.
"Anytime you have a weapon involved, they're dangerous," the detective said.
If you'd like to earn up to $1,000 for your information, call Crime Stoppers at 704-334-1600. You won't have to leave your name.