Cecil Sheriff takes to the skies with UAV to track down big equipment chop shop operator
ELKTON, MD. — The sleuths took to the skies on March 9, 2017, and tracked down some big construction equipment that a group of thieves allegedly stole from three states, according to the Cecil County Sheriff’s Office.
The Cecil County Sheriff’s Office report that it was contacted by investigators from the New Jersey State Police who were actively investigating multiple pieces of stolen heavy duty construction equipment.
New Jersey State Police had identified an Elkton, Maryland resident as a suspect in the thefts and the Cecil Sheriff decided to unleash surveillance operations that had never before been tried using a ‘weed-whacker in the sky’, as farmers used to refer to Unmanned Aerial Vehicles ten years ago when the innovative warfare weapons were being tested at Webster Field in St. Inigoes, Md.
Sheriff Adams, along with other deputies completed training and are FAA certified, licensed UAV Pilots. After the aerial surveillance was conducted, investigators obtained and executed search and seizure warrants at the property on Barksdale Road and the suspect’s residence in Elkton.
The sneaky cops report that the operations were conducted and the suspect was observed traveling between Maryland, Delaware, and New Jersey.
Police say that the suspect was identified several times frequenting a property in the 2000 block of Barksdale Road, Elkton.
Cecil County Sheriff’s Office investigators also received a tip about the suspect which stated that he was responsible for several pieces of stolen property from multiple states. Contact was then made with investigators from the Pennsylvania State Police, Delaware State Police, and the Delaware Fish and Wildlife Natural Resources Police. These agencies recently had thefts of equipment described in the tip made to Sheriff’s Office investigators.
Cecil County Sheriff Scott Adams operated the Sheriff’s Office UAV (unmanned aerial vehicle) in an area where visual observations could be made of the property in question. During this time, several large pieces of construction equipment were observed to the rear of a large structure on the property. The Cecil County Sheriff’s Office recently initiated their UAV program.
Sheriff Adams, along with other deputies completed training and are FAA certified, licensed UAV Pilots. After the aerial surveillance was conducted, investigators obtained and executed search and seizure warrants at the property on Barksdale Road and the suspect’s residence in Elkton. At the Barksdale Road property, seventeen pieces of construction equipment were seized.
The investigation then led to another property on Telegraph Road in Elkton where three additional pieces of construction equipment were seized. At the suspect’s residence, investigators located multiple items including keys to the construction equipment that linked him to the stolen property.
The seized equipment was identified by investigators. Delaware State Police, New Jersey State Police, and Pennsylvania State Police all had taken stolen property reports for equipment found during the investigation.
The estimated total value of the equipment seizure was determined to be $394,000.00. At this time, $243,000 in equipment has been returned to the victims. Investigators are still working to find and identify the owners of the remainder of the seized property.
The suspect’s name is being withheld at the request of investigators as this is an ongoing involving multiple law enforcement agencies. Additional arrests are expected to be made.