Network camera for school storage room

Hi Experts.  I was at a school event last night and the principal mentioned that someone has been getting into a storage room and stealing various items (tools, snacks, uniforms, etc).  He hasn't had any luck finding out who but asked if I could put in a camera to capture the thief.  I am out of my league when it comes to this but I told him I would ask around for a possible solution.

With that as the history, what I am (ideally) looking for is something like this:
-motion detection so there isn't hours of boxes being filmed
-video captured to flash memory on the camera
-can be mounted on the ceiling or hidden being items
-doesn't need to have night vision

I realize if the thief finds the camera then we lose the footage.  I'm looking for a quick and easy solution (add in cheap as it's on my dime) here that doesn't involve adding new cables or wires, setting up a WAP and laptop, etc..  Let me know what cameras you experts would recommend for this.  Thanks in advance.
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samiam41Asked:
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Darr247Commented:
Try a 6 or 8 megapixel "trail cam" such as one of these units from Bushnell
http://www.walmart.com/ip/Bushnell-X-8-6MP-Digital-Game-Camera/19863394?findingMethod=rr
http://www.opticsplanet.com/bushnell-8mp-trophy-cam-night-vision-field-scan-trail-camera.html
They also make locking boxes for them...
http://www.opticsplanet.com/bushnell-bear-safe-security-case-for-trophy-cam-trail-cameras-brown.html

The 'flash' LEDs are infrared, so when the flash goes off it's not visible to the eye, but the flash range is only out to about 40 feet, so if you have to mount it farther away from where the subject might be standing, that might not do what you want if the room is not lighted.

They hold up to 32GB SDHC cards, and you can have them shoot video or still photos, triggered by infrared sensor so it's not recording all the time.
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tsaicoCommented:
If the thief steals the camera, you should only lose the camera... unless you put your DVR in the same room.

Because you don't want to add the other features that make the security system work, I am not sure you can do with these guidelines. as all traditional security systems are out and would require at least an IP camera, a DVR, and a WAP or wires.

I would look into something like the nanny cams and that sort of thing. http://www.amazon.com/SpygearGadgets-Motion-Activated-Camera-Vision-Battery/dp/B00564TF4W is like that.
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samiam41Author Commented:
Thanks for the response.  I meant if the camera was storing the images and the camera was stolen, then we would be out the vid and camera.

I like your idea about the nanny cam.  I did some additional research and found this.

http://www.amazon.com/Mini-Wireless-Color-Camera-Microphone/dp/B000YM2OIK

My question is, what do I hook up to the receiver?  Such as, where does the vid go?
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Scott CSenior Systems EnginerCommented:
Take a look at this one.  I know it's more expensive but it it WiFi and will use an existing wirless network.

http://www.amazon.com/Wansview-Wireless-Surveillance-Microphone-monitoring/dp/B003LNZ1L6/ref=pd_sim_p_6

If the camera is discovered and stolen the computer it is sending its data to will be in a different location (hopefully) and you will catch the crook.

Also if there isn't a wireless network there is an ethernet port to physically connect it to the network.
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samiam41Author Commented:
Thanks ScottCha.  They don't have a wireless network in their school.  The school is slated to be rebuilt in 2014 and the $$ for WiFi is being included in the new school, no more improvements on the old.
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samiam41Author Commented:
With something like this, what could I hook to the receiver to record the data/vid?

http://www.tmart.com/1.2G-Wireless-Night-Vision-Camera-and-Receiver-Set_p114663.html
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Scott CSenior Systems EnginerCommented:
A VCR or a computer with AV inputs.  But you would want to make sure the recording equipment was either very well hidden or in an adjascent room.
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tsaicoCommented:
without at least a WAP, your options are very limited.  Nanny cams that hold everything will be your only option.  All these suggestions require either running cables or a WAP, which you outlined as unacceptable.
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samiam41Author Commented:
That's what I was afraid of.  After looking at my laptop, I don't show any AV ports to plug the receiver into.  What kind of cable would I need to run?  Would Ethernet work or are we talking coax?
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Scott CSenior Systems EnginerCommented:
Actually they would be RCA...Red/White for sound and Yellow for video.

Also I wouldn't risk my personal laptop.
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tsaicoCommented:
Also, another problem is the solutions would not auto record on motion, and you will either need to run indefinitely, or use something like zone alarm on your computer.
http://www.zonealarm.com/
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samiam41Author Commented:
Good call.  I was thinking older, headless PC but couldn't remember if the RCA ports were on my laptop.  Ok.  So I would need a video capture card that has RCA plugs, RCA cable and I'm guessing "software" to record the video and the cam.  Does that sound right?
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tsaicoCommented:
Yes, RCA cables and an adapter on your computer, but really, just spring for the 50~100 dollar nanny cam and hide the thing in the corner.

after you factor in all the time and testing of the setup, you can spend quite some time researching and gathering all the equipment, and still be out the same amount.
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Scott CSenior Systems EnginerCommented:
Logitech does have a variety of web cams that will record when motion is detected.

They only run about $50 and they connect via USB.

You just need to make sure the laptop/computer is secure.

The Logitech WebCam Pro 9000 will do this.  I have one and have played around with it.
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Scott CSenior Systems EnginerCommented:
I agree a nannycam would be the easiest.  Just hope it doesn't get stolen as well.
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samiam41Author Commented:
Video capture card?  http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16815276002

The nanny cams that have local storage start at $55-70 and don't seem to store more than a couple of hours.  Building a small pc with this will take $70 and I will have a lot of storage space.
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samiam41Author Commented:
Sorry guys.  I am behind on the posts.  Let me review your suggestions and catch up.
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samiam41Author Commented:
Logitech option is $100.  I may come back to that if this idea doesn't work.

Camera:  something like this (http://www.tmart.com/1.2G-Wireless-Night-Vision-Camera-and-Receiver-Set_p114663.html)
Capture card: (see link above)
rca cable:  http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16882719396

I put all that together, hide headless pc behind counter, wireless camera hidden and we catch sticky-fingers.  Yes?  I'm thinking $50'ish and I can get one of the old pc's out of my house.
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samiam41Author Commented:
I appreciate the assistance experts!!  Great ideas and options to bring to the principal for review.  I had a "Video Recording in Progress" sticker from an old AXIS network camera bought at a yard sale years ago that I gave to the principal to put on the door for now.  He said nothing has been touched since.  Amazing.  Still looking for a long term solution but you all helped steer us in the right direction.  Thanks again!
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tsaicoCommented:
Love it.  I also do a fair number of hanging the plastic domes with a fake camera in there for the same purpose.
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