Florida man accused of dismantling license plate cameras (includes video story)

A Florida man is accused of dismantling license plate cameras. On May 2, Eric Fiedler raised concern about the devices placed by the Seminole County Sheriff’s Office along major roadways from Oviedo to Altamonte Springs, caliming there was a lack of public notification and transparency in their installation. Four days later, deputies noticed the readers going offline, and 22 of them were found dismantled, damaged, and thrown in retention ponds.

After a month-long investigation, deputies caught Fiedler in the act of tampering with the cameras. He was charged with felony vandalism, theft, and burglary when making his first court appearance. During an interview, Fiedler said, “I’m not a criminal. But it’s kind of interesting when something pops up that you don’t know about in your neighborhood.”

Fiedler had been mapping the locations of the cameras and expressed fear that the license plate readers were just the beginning of increased surveillance. The manufacturer, Flock Safety, claims that only law enforcement may access the data, which is deleted after 30 days. Fiedler remained concerned about privacy.

The Seminole County Sheriff’s Office defended use of the cameras, stating they have been essential in solving murder cases and locating missing people. Replacing each camera will cost more than $4,000 and there is currently no timeline.

Jasmine Arocha is a student at Florida International University majoring in Digital TV and Multimedia Production. She was born and raised in Miami and has a creative eye for producing and editing videos. In the future, she hopes to work behind the scenes for the news.