Chris Jaszczak heard the high-pitched sound of a drill grinding into the brick wall of his coffee shop and black box theater in downtown Detroit.
After peeking into the alley behind his building at 1515 Broadway, Jaszczak was shocked when he saw someone installing a surveillance camera on his brick wall.
Turns out, employees for Dan Gilbert’s Bedrock Real Estate Services were ordered to place surveillance cameras on the rear of 1515 Broadway and the Detroit Beer Company without gaining permission from the owners, who are angry about the discovery.
The cameras are among hundreds installed downtown by Bedrock in the past few years, sending live feeds to a secretive command center in Chase Tower where security guards keep an eye on the video 24/7.
“What gets me is the audacity to drill into my property without even asking,” Jaszczak said. “It’s not the cameras that bother me. It’s not having the courtesy to ask first.”
The devices are facing the alley near several buildings owned by Gilbert, including 1500 Woodward, the Madison and the Small Plates building, which sits between 1515 Broadway and the Detroit Beer Company.
Gilbert also has surveillance cameras inside the newsrooms of the Detroit News and Free Press, which rent a building from Bedrock. Reporters have privately complained.
Bedrock didn’t return requests for comment.
Steve Neavling lives and works in Detroit as an investigative journalist. His stories have uncovered corruption, led to arrests and reforms and prompted FBI investigations.