UK police drone locates three bank robbers and videos the arrest

police drone bank robbers

The 1930s-40 radio show The Shadow famously began each episode with the reminder/warning that its crime-fighting hero “knows what evil lurks in the hearts of men,” and relied on that knowledge to bring criminals to justice. A UK police drone has gone one better by using the heat lurking in the bodies of three bank robbers to help nearby officers bust them (while taking a nifty video of the cuffing to boot).

The aerial drama was filmed in the wee hours of August 14 in the central England town of Mansfield. Authorities were set into motion when an alarm was tripped in the local branch of the Santander bank. Arriving officers searched the building for signs of intruders but came up empty. A police drone was then dispatched into the early-hour obscurity to use its thermal sensor to look for any telltale traces of the bank robber suspects in the area. The craft quickly fulfilled its mission, finding and filming three red-hued figures hunkered down behind the peak of the bank’s slanted roof in an attempt to hide.

Despite the fuzziness of the infrared footage, the police drone video makes it clear how the bank robbers hoped to use the rooftop layout to escape detection, as well as the caution of police as they closed in on and extracted them. On a couple of occasions, the scarlet figure of the lead officer looks to be holding a gun in the locked-arms position made famous on TV in movies (which conveniently brings us back to the entertainment theme of this post).

Maybe the drone will get its own radio or television show. For now, it at least has a YouTube address.

 It’s unclear whether the three suspected bank robbers located by the police drone actually had time to pinch anything. Nevertheless, Nottinghamshire police responsible for the operation say the three perpetrators will be standing trial “in connection with a bank burglary” this very day. 

Detective Sergeant Lauren Morgan of Nottinghamshire’s criminal investigation department hailed the work of the various units called to the crime scene, including the police drone team. Prioritizing the battle against burglaries and robberies by using hi-tech assets like drones has caused the number of attempts in the region to plummet by 34% between April 2020 and the same month this year.

“Nottinghamshire Police treats burglary seriously and has two specialist burglary teams, consisting of detectives who are dedicated to tackling this type of crime who have helped drive down the number of burglaries across the force area,” Morgan said in a statement. “Burglaries can have huge implications on businesses and their communities. We understand the devastation these incidents can cause, and along with our preventative work, we are committed to putting suspects before the court at the earliest opportunity.”

A police, court, and drone crime-fighting show? It might just work.

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