Police Drone Assists in Apprehending Theft Suspects

Two men from D.C. were arrested with the help of a drone following a reported theft at the Safeway supermarket in downtown Silver Spring, according to Montgomery County Police.

Officers from the 3rd District, along with assistance from the MCPD drone, known as Raven 1, apprehended 26-year-old Brandon Mark and 40-year-old Joseph Paul Lee on November 30th.

According to an MCPD press release, officers from the 3rd District were dispatched to the Safeway supermarket in the 900 block of Thayer Ave. on November 30th following a report of an assault. Raven 1 promptly arrived and witnessed two individuals fleeing the store with stolen goods. They tracked the suspects to Mayor Lane and Thayer Ave., providing responding officers with the suspects’ location and description (video below).

The suspects, later identified as Mark and Lee, were apprehended at the scene. Initially, they provided false names to the officers, but their true identities were later confirmed through law enforcement databases.

Police recovered the stolen items and returned them to Safeway.

Both Mark and Lee, from Washington, D.C., were taken to the county’s Central Processing Unit, where they were charged with theft and obstructing and hindering. Lee was released on a $100 unsecured personal bond, while Mark was held without bond due to an arrest warrant from D.C.

The Raven 1 drone also played a role in the recent capture of a 31-year-old repeat shoplifter who had been stealing from the CVS Pharmacy in the 9500 block of Georgia Ave. in Silver Spring on multiple occasions. In each case, the unnamed male suspect left the store before patrol officers responded.

3rd District officers responded to a call at the Georgia Ave. CVS at around 12:33 p.m. on November 15. The suspect had already left the store by the time the officers arrived, however, Raven 1 was deployed and observed the suspect leaving the store and boarding a Metrobus. The drone then tracked the bus, providing the officers with its location.

Police stopped the Metrobus at the crossing of Georgia Ave. and Colesville Road at approximately 12:50 p.m. and apprehended the individual.

Additionally, Raven 1 helped arrest two suspects for auto break-ins in downtown Silver Spring.

In a recent weekly message, County Executive Marc Elrich reported that police detectives requested assistance after witnessing car break-ins along Eastern Ave. and Kennett Street in downtown Silver Spring. The suspects were last seen near East-West Highway, but a drone arrived within 30 seconds and utilized infrared technology to track their body heat.

Two men with loaded weapons were then arrested, Elrich said.

Montgomery County Police said that during November and December of last year, Raven 1 responded to 159 calls in downtown Silver Spring, arriving first on the scene for 121 calls, which accounts for seventy-six percent of the total calls. The average response time was one minute and twenty-one seconds, and 27 subjects/suspects were located. Raven 1 successfully eliminated the need for patrol officers to respond to 22 calls, allowing 40 officers to either return to service or be redirected to other calls for service, according to MCPD.

A collection of flight maps and data can be found on the MCPD’s Drone as First Responder website.

MCPD Graphic

Read More:
Teenage Girl Dies in Metro Train Surfing Incident near Silver Spring Station
Your Mastodon Instance