WEST HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) — Police in West Hartford are asking the public to be on high alert and take precautions following a gun-wielding man who attempted to steal cars in several neighborhoods.
Ring camera footage sent to police through a video-sharing program Monday helped make them aware of an attempted car burglary on Berkshire Road. In the video, a suspect tries the door handles of multiple cars parked in a driveway and appears to be holding a black handgun.
Police said none of the cars were successfully entered, there was no damage and no one was injured.
The suspect in the video was described as a light-skinned man wearing a navy blue “Champion” brand hooded sweatshirt and blue jeans. In the footage, he is seen getting into the driver’s seat of a black SUV and leaving the scene prior to police arrival.
Police said they located the vehicles based on the descriptions in the video and notified the owners who were unaware of the incident.
An hour later, West Hartford Police Department was notified that a vehicle had been stolen on Vardon Road. Responding officers discovered the same suspect and suspect vehicle trying to burglarize four cars parked in another driveway. Police said one was unlocked with the keys inside, which was stolen.
Police said a handgun was also seen in footage of that incident as well. No one was injured, and no other vehicles were damaged or entered, police said.
Captain Eric Rocheleau showed News 8 how the video-sharing program has changed the speed at which law enforcement can react to these incidents. He said having almost real-time access to the video not only lets them know what they’re dealing with but also helps them get the information out immediately to neighboring police departments.
“We are able to share the information so quickly that we can put the car out and within 20 minutes or half an hour, we can spot that car in another town doing the same thing over and over again, and that information sharing is huge,” Rocheleau said.
The West Hartford Police Department also has a very active undercover unit that monitors the video feeds and patrols neighborhoods at night. Having the video share program is helpful, but they’re also looking to expand cameras on their street corners.
“We are looking at getting some more cameras in here to be able to share information back-and-forth. East Hartford and Wethersfield have a program as well, and we are looking here as well to involve more technology in that…” Rocheleau said.
The police department is reminding residents to lock their vehicles and hide valuables.
You can click here to register for the video-sharing program, which helps police identify potential criminal activity that may have been caught on your video system. One important aspect to point out is that users physically have to share their video with police — police cannot go in and look at it without their permission.