Canine and Drones Aid in Arrest of Wanted Suspect in Tuscaloosa County Manhunt
Sheriffs deputies in Tuscaloosa County used their whole toolkit to apprehend a wanted suspect they sought in a six-hour manhunt Wednesday afternoon.
Deputy Jessica McDaniel, a spokesperson for TCSO, said their Crime Suppression Unit and Criminal Investigations Division have both been trying to locate 32-year-old Pedro Arenas, who was wanted on multiple warrants and is also a suspect in an ongoing vehicle theft investigation.
McDaniel said the stolen vehicle was found around 2 p.m. Wednesday and deputies were dispatched to the area of Sullivan Road off Highway 171 in north Tuscaloosa County, where a K-9 unit named Sjores and his handler followed tracks left by the suspect for miles.
McDaniel said in addition to the police dog tracking Arenas, TCSO deployed a trio of unmanned aerial drones to survey from the sky, and eventually, that new technology detected movement in a heavily wooded area the K-9 team was approaching.
Deputies were able to arrest Arenas without incident around 8 p.m. - six hours after the stolen car was first spotted.
McDaniel said the track taken from the vehicle to Arenas was almost seven miles long and took more than three hours and 30 minutes to complete.
"By diligent training, excellent equipment and relentless determination from all involved, this operation was a successful team effort in every aspect," TCSO Chief Alex Miles said.
He gave special credit to Deputy Cleveland and Sjores as well as Lt. Hall and Analysts Hill and Alexander, who manned the drones that spotted Arenas on thermal cameras.
"Everyone involved should be commended for their part in taking the suspect into custody and getting him off the street," Miles said.
As the Thread previously reported, TCSO recently gave its helicopters to the Tuscaloosa Police Department and shifted their aerial focus entirely to training a new drone unit.