For John Kachoyeanos it was his reality.
"I was just doing some work," he said. "I didn't see the guys, I saw them out of the corner of my eye, but I wasn't paying much attention."
Suddenly he was at the center of an armed robbery. One man stole his iPad, the other pointed a gun at him. It happened all while he sat outside of a coffee shop.
"I just never imagined because I was just sitting here anyone would be so bold as to swipe it," he said.
The criminals made a critical mistake. They didn't know someone was watching the whole thing and the crime was being recorded.
We were able to get a description out to our officers probably at least ten minutes before were we able to get that out," University of Illinois DetectiveTim Hetrick said.
A camera is positioned directly from where the armed robbery happened. It's one of 700 across the U of I. One thousand should be up by next fall.
They are changing the way police solve crimes.
"Some of our detectives are using them almost exclusively to build their entire case," Hetrick said.
For Kachoyeanos, he's just happy the criminals were caught and his iPad is back in his hands.
Copyright 2015 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.