INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) - As the case against Jeremy Priel and Michael Bell unfolded Thursday, two words kept coming up: surveillance cameras.
Prosecutors said they prove the two are involved in a Cumberland double homicide. But 24-Hour News 8 discovered the cameras may only tell half the story.
Bell and Priel are accused of shooting and killing Jeremy Crane and his 7-year-old niece Kyleigh on Dec. 12. Prosecutors said surveillance video showing Bell and Priel on an IndyGo bus will help prove their case.
According to court documents, two men matching Bell's and Priel's descriptions are seen exiting a bus on Route 8 and getting onto a bus on Route 87. A probable cause affidavit said one of them is "observed carrying what appears to be a very large bundled item(s) wrapped in a dark colored blanket." The other man is observed "wearing a yellow shirt and grey jacket and appears to have a firearm in his left inside pocket."
Prosecutors said all this is clearly shown on several IndyGo cameras.
But all of those cameras are from the bus on Route 87. Detectives said the pair were on the Route 8 bus first. But according to court documents, the surveillance system on that bus was "down that day."
24-Hour News 8 checked into IndyGo's maintenance program to see if that's happening on other buses too.
"We have modules that will provide the diagnostic and identify when cameras are down," said IndyGo CEO Mike Terry. "Information is downloaded every day. We have a wireless system that accommodates that when buses come back in. We go through preventive maintenance, routine checks. We have a vendor virtually on site to go through 146 buses to make sure everything is working."
But, with up to nine cameras on each of IndyGo's 146 large buses, and additional cameras on 75 para-transit buses, Terry said cameras can and do break down.
"Malfunctions could occur, or something like maybe the memory we haven't been able to download. But those are probably more rare than an everyday type of occurrence," he said.
Asked how rare, Terry thought for a moment.
"It's going to be part of any type of maintenance. You may have equipment up and down. But, for the most part, I'd say there's strong, heavy reliability with this," he said.
Terry also pointed out that surveillance cameras inside and outside IndyGo buses have been used to reduce erroneous tort claims against the city and have also been used by Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department as evidence in other criminal cases.
"The transition into it took time at first," Terry said. "But, I'm very comfortable that now we have a very good, stable system."
If convicted on all counts, Bell and Priel face more than 150 years in prison each .
A jury trial is scheduled for Feb. 27.
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