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New drone video of suspect search in swamp-infested waters

Posted at 5:02 PM, Apr 05, 2017
and last updated 2019-03-26 23:04:33-04

Martin County deputies made their way through the swamps of northern Palm Beach County last weeklooking for Victor Peel.  But they had a new set of eyes in the sky.

The Palm Beach County Sheriff’s office activated its new drone, and eventually had him in its sights.  The pilot could then relay the location to the deputies in the water.

“We have really found that use of technology paired with our helicopter has greatly improved our ability to detect crime and to catch the criminals," said Martin County Sheriff William Snyder.

The sheriff said he can’t thank his law enforcement neighbors to the south enough for their help. “For us the resource that made all the difference was the drone because my helicopter had to come back for gas and the drone was still up in the air.”

Sheriff Snyder said technology has come a long way from when a helicopter searchlight was cutting edge.  In fact, new technology helped the sheriff’s office capture some criminals from the sky Tuesday night. 

The sheriff's helicopter, equipped with infrared cameras, caught four men stealing mail from mailboxes south of Stuart.

The sheriff said their helicopters can now fly much higher so the bad guys don’t know they’re being watched.

“Finding out where the crime patterns are, our helicopter works later hours and flies over these areas where we’re having problems and reports suspicious activity to the ground units," said Sheriff Snyder.

In this case, four men from Georgia were arrested and charged.  As for getting a drone for his office, Sheriff Snyder said they’re looking into the financial and legal costs. “We would need warrant to look into someone's property, their yard. Which I think is a good thing.  I don’t want people spying on me with their drone and I don’t want to spy on anybody with my drone.”

But he wants the bad guys thinking twice that there may be more eyes in the sky.