Candid Camera’’ was a popular television show which aired in various forms from 1948 through 2014.

The show would use a hidden lens to film ordinary people confronted by unusual situations, often involving pranks. It made for great entertainment.

These days, “Candid Camera” is hard to find on television, but it can be found almost everywhere else. A prime example surfaced late last month when surveillance cameras placed near the Kankakee County Courthouse captured video of a person stealing the United States and Illinois flags from the courthouse flagpole.

As of this writing, the person has not been found, although a flag has been recovered. Without direct knowledge, it would appear the theft was carried out as more of a prank than a malicious crime.

But regardless of the motive, local law enforcement is taking the matter seriously and conducting an investigation into who is responsible. When found, the person will face criminal charges.

There’s a lesson to be learned here. The days of committing dumb acts and getting away with them scot-free are clearly over. Advanced technology has seen to that.

Remember some 40 to 50 years ago when you could call the corner grocery store and ask “Do you have Prince Albert in a can?” When the person on the other end would answer, “Yes,’’ the caller would commonly respond with “You better let him out before he suffocates.’’

Then, the prankster would hang up the phone and laugh heartily. Try that now with caller ID, and the next contact made likely will be from the police seeking out the prank maker.

Surveillance cameras have eliminated anonymity in a similar way. Wherever you are and whatever you are doing, there’s a chance it’s being caught on film. There’s never been an acceptable time to commit crimes, and now the time has come to put the pranks aside.

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