Anne is the quiet type, unassuming and easily overlooked. Always impeccably dressed, she blends quietly into the background. Most important, she doesn’t miss much. She sees everything and hears everything. She is the perfect spy.
No, Anne is not the heroine of a new John le Carré novel; she is Anne Droid, an all-seeing store mannequin and the latest weapon in retailers’ never-ending war against burglars and shoplifters. A closed-circuit TV camera lurks inside her head, observing everything through one of her dark brown eyes. In one nostril, a sophisticated microphone picks up all sounds within a 30-to 40-foot range.
Anne Droid’s creator, F. Jerry Gutierrez, 40, of Denver, has been a graphics artist, a fireman, a carpenter and a mannequin maker. Until two years ago, he had never even thought about security surveillance. “I saw this little camera at a jewelry store opening,” he says, “and I thought, ‘Gee, I could stick that in a mannequin’s head.’ And it worked.”
So far Gutierrez has sold 10 Anne Droids, the first one to a furrier in New Jersey. The base price is about $2,400 for a mannequin with standard camera, cable and monitor and the special contact lenses that serve as the camera lens. Anne Droid, says Gutierrez, sees in a 45-degree arc, although she can be fitted with different lenses, such as a fish-eye or a pinpoint, which can be popped in or out. “I don’t claim that this camera is doing the same job as the big surveillance systems,” he says. “But those systems cost you $5,000 and more; the mom-and-pop operations can’t afford them.” The Anne Droids in use haven’t been in place long enough to prove their effectiveness as crime deterrents, but Gutierrez has sufficient confidence in his product that he has set up shop in a new factory, where he hopes to produce as many as 100 Anne Droids a month.
Most of Gutierrez’s customers prefer to remain anonymous because, after all, they don’t want potential shoplifters to know what they’re up against. But one who will speak out is Susan Henderson, owner of a clothing store in Cherry Creek, Colo., who purchased a male version of Anne Droid for her window. “I needed a male mannequin anyway,” says Henderson, “so I figured why not buy one that could keep watch .”
Oh, yes, one last thing: The male is called Cy, as in Cy Borg.