Drone helps officers nab suspect who jumped across rooftops, police say

Arrest marks first of its kind in department's history

By Adrienne Cutway - Web Editor

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. - For the first time in the agency's history, a drone was used to help make an arrest after a man attempted to burglarize a home then scaled a 15-foot fence and jumped from rooftop to rooftop while trying to avoid capture, according to the Daytona Beach Police Department.

Police said they were called to Oleander Avenue shortly before 3 a.m. Wednesday in reference to a man, later identified as 24-year-old Anthony Rivers, walking around the backyard of a home. When officers arrived, Rivers was pacing in the pool area and did not immediately notice the officers, according to the report.

The officers decided to try to apprehend Rivers, which is when he ran and scaled a 15-foot fence to avoid them, the affidavit said.

A perimeter was established in the area, but authorities said hours later they were still unable to find Rivers. Officers said they were breaking the perimeter when they heard a loud crash and realized that Rivers had been hiding in the backyard of a home near the one where the call originated.

Rivers jumped onto the roof of a shed then leaped from rooftop to rooftop and into trees over the course of two hours in order to avoid arrest, according to the affidavit.

Police said a drone was brought to the scene and immediately spotted Rivers hiding on the roof of a home. Within minutes of the drone's arrival, officers were able to make an arrest.

"This burglar tried everything he could to avoid capture, but the top-notch technology of these unmanned aerial systems helped officers follow his every move. Good work by our superb aviation unit and all the officers at the scene early Wednesday on the beach side," department officials said.

Sgt. Tim Ehrenkaufer said the department used $76,000 seized from drug dealers to buy five drones.

"I think it was very helpful having that help," Ehrenkaufer said. "It's there for public safety. That's their goal. To get it out there and find the criminals, to clear traffic homicide scenes, to find missing persons, that's what we're there for."

Rivers was charged with resisting an officer without violence, attempted burglary and burglary of a dwelling.

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