Charlotte deputies utilize helicopters to respond to increasing boat thefts

Reporter: Erika Jackson
Helicopter responds to a scene. (Credit: WINK News)
Helicopter responds to a scene. (Credit: WINK News)

They are the eyes in the sky when law enforcement needs to bring down suspects on the run.

Now, Charlotte County Sheriff’s Office said it is using their aviation unit not just to patrol our streets, but also our waterways.

There is no such thing as a bad day on the water for Terry Carroll.

“If you ask anybody around here,” Carroll said. “My first words when they ask me how I am doing or I am living the dream.”

A dream come true for the marina manager in Placida. Carroll spends time on the water while keeping a vigilant eye on nearly 200 vessels as Florida is dealing with an increase of boat thefts.

Helicopter responds to a scene. (Credit: WINK News)
Helicopter responds to a scene. (Credit: WINK News)

The business has 22 live feed cameras that record 24-hours a day, saving footage if it needs to be reviewed for security purposes.

CCSO deputies are increasing patrol of the water form 1,000 feet up in the air.

Shane Engelaut, the CCSO chief pilot, said they rely on technology using night vision and infrared cameras to look out for suspicious activity.

“If it stands out further, we will direct a deputy to go check it out on the ground,” Engelaut said.

CCSO said its helicopter can get to any spot in the county within five minutes.

Carroll said patrolling from all angles will help increase security at the marina. But he also wants boat owners to do their part to keep their valuables safe.

“The more you prevent people from seeing stuff,” Carroll said, “the less of them wanting to steal everything.”

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