BRADENTON, Fla. (FOX 13) - Every second counts when a suspect is on the loose. No one knows this better than members of the Manatee County Sheriff's Office Aviation Unit.
From the sky, Deputy Dennis Sanders lets deputies on the ground know where a suspect is heading.
"He's almost all the way to the back of the complex. He just got out of another vehicle," Sanders says over the radio. "He has something big in his hands."
His helicopter's camera beams through detailed images, even at night.
This suspect was spotted by the aviation unit after a tip from deputies on the ground. The man was caught going car-to-car at Mirror Lakes Condominiums in Manatee County around 1 a.m. Friday.
He had no idea deputies were zeroing in on him.
"You have to be as descriptive as possible and think along the lines of what they are going to see from the ground," explained Deputy Sanders.
He keeps a watchful eye as Deputy Pilot Ben Sehorne keeps the suspect onscreen.
"If he needs me to move left, right, higher and lower. Coming from that side of the aircraft when I was a Tactical Flight Officer, I have a good idea of what he needs prior to him asking," said Deputy Sehorne.
After the suspect realizes what's happening, Deputy Sanders gets units to the right spot for the takedown.
The clear video is also useful afterward, for prosecutions.
"Getting good evidence to use in court to keep these people accountable for what they’re doing," said Deputy Sanders.
The video doesn't lie. Deputies arrested Dylan Watson for going through dozens of cars and entering eight.
“At the end of the pursuit you have all this tension built up and you have this great outcome where the bad guy goes to jail, nobody gets hurt and everybody goes home. It’s a big relief to everybody to know it was a job well done," said Deputy Sehorne.
Watson was charged with eight vehicle burglaries, 35 attempted vehicle burglaries and two counts of trespassing on school grounds. Deputies say he confessed to the burglaries and also confessed to two additional vehicle burglaries that he committed over the last month.
He remains in the Manatee County jail.