SAGINAW, Mich. (WJRT) – Police used a drone with thermal imaging capability to apprehend a suspect accused of breaking into a Saginaw cell phone store late Thursday.
Saginaw police responded to a burglary alarm at the Saginaw Wireless store at 2700 Davenport Ave. around 10:45 p.m. The first officer in the area quickly determined someone broke into the store and radioed the description of a suspect in several recent crimes to other officers.
A Michigan State Police trooper saw someone matching that description southeast of the cell phone store and began a foot chase. Several other police officers and a K-9 team joined the chase, but they could not catch up to the suspect.
The Saginaw County Sheriff’s Office responded with a drone, which carries night vision and thermal imaging technology. A detective operating the drone noticed a human heat signature in the 2000 block of North Charles Street and directed a K-9 team to the area.
The K-9 located the suspect hiding under a barbecue grill and police arrested him without further incident. The suspect was not identified because he hadn’t appeared in court for arraignment by Friday morning.
“This is an excellent example of how well our Saginaw area police agencies work together side by side in a joint effort to make our community safer,” said Saginaw Police Chief Bob Ruth.
The sheriff’s office obtained the drone in September with a grant from the U.S. Department of Justice. Two detectives have completed required certification from the FAA and earned qualifications as Law Enforcement Thermo-Graphers.
“We acquired this technology and trained our officers to further enable our agency to fight crime and assist our partner agencies utilizing the most innovative technology in attempt to give law enforcement an edge against those who choose to commit crimes,” said Saginaw County Undersheriff Miguel Gomez.
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