OGDENSBURG Two months after an antique diamond ring was stolen from a gallery display case, the Frederic Remington Art Museum has beefed up its interior security with surveillance cameras.
Museum Executive Director Edward A. LaVarnway said Thursday that a digital video recorder system with four cameras was installed at the 303 Washington St. museum last week. The setup cost $2,200 and was put in by Alltech of Potsdam.
Mr. LaVarnway said three of the cameras are in corridors of the museums gallery, where the display cases are. The fourth overlooks the museums front entrance. The system videotapes all four settings continuously for 60 days.
On May 27, the single-carat, 19th-century ring was taken from a glass display case. The suspect, Blake R. Peabody, 24, of 814 S. Water St., was a part-time maintenance employee at the museum who later was fired for missing work and eventually was arrested.
Mr. LaVarnway said that a check by city police and specialists of the museums security following the theft concluded that the setup of burglar alarms and motion and noise sensor alarms was not enough.
The common theme was that we needed video surveillance, he said.
The digital video recorder system has a capacity for eight cameras. Mr. LaVarnway said it was no chore to place four of them in the gallery corridors and the entrance right away.
They were the critical areas to have them, he said.
Mr. LaVarnway said no decision has been made on where to place the other four cameras. The museums first-floor gift shop is a strong possibility, although an employee is always there. That would make a serious theft from the small area unlikely.
In another, equally important improvement, the five glass display cases will be secured by locks rather than screws. Screws on the case were loosened when the ring was taken.
If somebody takes a pencil, who cares? Mr. LaVarnway said. Youre not going to get away with a $1,300 (Remington) bronze.
Mr. Peabody was charged with felony fourth-degree grand larceny. He apparently had tried twice to return the ring before he notified Mr. LaVarnway that he took it. His case is now before a St. Lawrence County grand jury.
The ring was returned to the museum Thursday by city police Detective Sgt. Harry J. McCarthy, signaling the end of the investigation of the theft. The ring will not be back on public display until fall, when the museum celebrates the 150th anniversary of the illustrator, sculptor and painters Oct. 4 birth.
Mr. Remington purchased the ring in 1884 as an engagement present for his bride-to-be, Eva Caten.