Friday Dec 09, 2022

Up to $10K in video equipment stolen from public access station – WCSH-WLBZ


The incident was among several thefts—including a car—reported in the same part of campus at the University of Maine at Farmington.

FARMINGTON, Maine — There are some things we don’t fully appreciate until they’re gone.

Andre Cormier runs Mount Blue TV, a public access station. On Sunday, he walked in the station’s office on campus and realized something was off.

“You walk in and you get that feeling that something’s not right in the room,” he recalled, standing in the middle of the quiet studio on Monday. “I went from being like, ‘why is there a mess’ to ‘oh, things are missing.'”

Someone had gone in, Cormier said, without forcing a door open and left with two cameras, battery chargers, and a live streaming unit; altogether worth upwards of $10,000. 

Cormier was not the sole victim. The professor who teaches in the room next to the TV studio came out into the hallway and said someone took her computer dongles, adapters she uses to connect her laptop to the campus monitors.

In a response to a request for an interview, a campus spokesperson said multiple classrooms has been reported burglarized or vandalized, and police were looking for a 2015 Subaru Forester stolen from a lot outside the building from where MBTV broadcasts. 

Cormier was on the phone with insurance adjusters before and after we met. He believed all of the missing equipment was covered, but he wasn’t sure. In the short term, the act dealt a blow to the work he and his staff do every day.

MBTV is an eye in the region — school board and select board meetings, interviews with local artists, high school sports; they broadcast them all each week.

Matt Friedman is Mt. Blue High School’s head football coach. Each week, MBTV streams the Cougars games, including multiple camera angles, on-screen graphics, play-by-play and color commentary, and even instant replay.

The feed is not only utilized by players’ families, Friedman said, but college scouts at times. The coach even leans on the streams himself.

“A lot of times, my coaches and I will watch the Mt. Blue TV replay before we watch our own film,” he smiled. 

The stream is available on Facebook immediately after the game, allowing coaches and players to study game tape as soon as they get on the bus ride home from away games.

“It was really disappointing to hear,” Friedman said of the theft. “Mt. Blue TV does so much as far as giving access to games and other co-curricular activities at the school here and all the schools in the district.”

While police investigate, Cormier will get back to work with what he has left.

“You can be bitter and angry, and I am; this sucks,” he said. “But, how do we move forward and what do we do about it, and how do we set an example for what we want to happen?”

He’s determined to use this obstacle as a learning tool.

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