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Man flying drone helps police catch teenager accused of stealing $30,000

Man flying drone helps police catch teenager accused of stealing $30,000

They spotted the suspect using a passerby's drone

A drone pilot got more than they bargained for when they ended up assisting police in catching a thief who had stolen $30,000.

Following a robbery and home invasion in the San Francisco Bay Area, police cordoned off the area and tried to hunt down the suspect.

They ended up getting help from an unlikely source, eventually leading to police pursuing the suspect as he tried to make a getaway in an Uber.

Officers were called to a property at around 6.30am local time.

They found that someone had entered the property by shattering a glass door at the rear of the house, before making their escape.

Some of the cash seized by officers.
Hercules Police Department
A watch was also stolen.
Hercules Police Department

The house's occupant subsequently told them that some $30,000 was missing from the property. CCTV footage from the house showed the suspect wearing black sweatpants, a grey shirt around his face, and a blue jacket.

A few hours later at around 9.48am police received a report from a neighbour. The neighbour told officers that he had 'located a subject hiding' while using his personal drone.

However, while officers were on their way to investigate, the suspect once again tried to get away, this time in an Uber. Police were able to track the vehicle.

Police said in a statement: “Officers located a Grey Honda Accord with Uber logos in the window at the corner of Meadowlark and Tanager Way.

Drones have been deployed by police before to catch suspects.

“A high-risk stop was conducted and a subject matching the exact description of the suspect in the surveillance video exited the rear passenger seat of the Honda.”

After searching the car, officers found the missing $30,000 on the floorboard of the vehicle. A teenager was arrested.

Police were also able to use footage from the drone's camera to help them to confirm the suspect's identity.

It's not the first time that drones have been used to catch criminals. In 2022, Lincolnshire Police used an observation drone to help in the pursuit of two attempted burglars.

The pilots were able to observe the suspects and co-ordinated with officers on the ground in the pursuit. The drones used both regular and thermal imaging cameras during the pursuit of the suspects in a chase lasting around 15 minutes.

Kevin Taylor, Chief Drone Pilot, Lincolnshire Police, said: “This was a great result for the drone team where offenders were tracked for over 15 mins trying to hide, then outrun our police drone.

"This is just one of many recent convictions that are a direct result of the forces investment in cost effective drone technology to compliment officers on the ground.”

Featured Image Credit: Hercules Police Department/ Kuttig - People / Alamy

Topics: Crime, Police, US News, News