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Drone helps catch crooks

Tuesday, November 29, 2016 12:51
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Emory Bryan reports,

TULSA, Oklahoma – Two men were arrested Monday morning after a business burglary – and a short chase – by a drone.
An eyewitness saw the break-in happening.

That eyewitness was talking to a drone pilot outside The Vault, where the break-in happened, so when the suspects took off, the drone did too.

David Bell flies his drone downtown often, mainly just to get beauty shots.

“Pretty amazing little thing,” Bell said.

Before today, he’s never needed to chase down burglars.

He was outside the Vault, upstairs at what’s called the Tom Tom Room, when he and another man saw someone come out of a broken window with two bottles of scotch.

It’s not the first time business owner Libby Billings has dealt with a burglar.

“Maybe they’re a little drunk or need a fix, I don’t know, but all three times, they’ve been caught because I have cameras,” Billings said.

This time, the cameras were inside, and overhead.

When the burglars left the vault, they walked across the street to a park bench and started drinking. What they didn’t know was that they were being followed overhead, by a drone.

“He’s oblivious of it, never heard it I guess,” Bell said. “[He] went down to a park bench, sat down and started drinking the bottle of liquor he stole.”

With Bell watching the live feed, the police were guided right to them.

Officers arrested two men, one for public intoxication and the other for the break-in.

“They were busted, but they kind of didn’t believe that,” Billings said. “‘What? You have a drone?’ Yes, we do.”

Billings figures the damage is about $1,000, the investment in cameras worth it to catch criminals, but the added advantage of a drone was something even she hadn’t counted on.


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