Even a worldwide pandemic doesn’t stop petty criminals, and police in Grand Prairie are fighting back with a secret weapon – eyes in the sky that never blink.
While overall calls to police are down in recent weeks, certain crimes like car break-ins are on the rise.
In Grand Prairie, police are using drones to catch thieves in the act -- without them even knowing it.
On Monday, at about 2:30 a.m., three men were arrested after police said live drone video showed them walking down a residential street casing cars.
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The officer flying the drone radioed the suspects’ location to other patrol officers who moved in for the arrests.
One of the three suspects ran on foot, but the drone helped track him down too, police said.
"The car burglars, they're bored at home just like everybody else,” Ofc. Mark Beseda said. “And now they're going out into the street in the middle of the night thinking nobody is watching them."
Officers are armed with drones that are so small and quiet, they are almost impossible to notice – especially in the dark.
Their night visions cameras send back live video. The feed also can be shared with other officers on their patrol car computers in real time.
"With the pandemic going on, we have families really concerned about their health, as they should be,” Beseda said. “And we shouldn't have to have them worried about their property being stolen, their vehicles being broken into.”
The message to car thieves?
"You may not see us, but we see you with these drones now,” Beseda said. "Technology is advancing. We're fighting crime easier, smarter and doing less work by deploying something as simple as a drone."
The department has 10 drones and has trained officers on different shifts how to use them, he said.