Flock cameras help Braidwood PD nab car thief suspect from Minnesota

FLOCK SAFETY CAMERAS have been utilized by law enforcement all around Will County, as well as throughout Illinois and the nation, to help law enforcement track down vehicles. One of Braidwood's cameras recently assisted the BPD in finding and arresting a suspect wanted for stealing a car in Minnesota. Image provided by Flock Safety.

Marney Simon

The increase in Flock Safety cameras as a tool for local law enforcement has helped the Braidwood Police Department nab an alleged car thief from Minnesota.

On Feb. 7, around 11:30 a.m., the Braidwood Police Department received an alert from one of the city’s our Flock cameras that a stolen vehicle was in the area of Kennedy Road and Hickory Street.

According to the police report, the vehicle was a 2008 Black Cadillac Escalade, with a Minnesota registration plate.

After a brief investigation, Willie McDaniel of St. Paul Minn., was taken into custody for possession of a stolen vehicle, possession of a controlled substance, and a warrant for a parole violation out of Minnesota.

McDaniel was charged through the Will County State’s Attorney’s Office for Possession of a stolen motor vehicle and possession of a controlled substance.

He was transported to The Will County Adult Detention Facility, where he was later given a $10,000 bond.

McDaniel is due back in court on Feb. 28.

It’s the latest use of the Flock safety cameras for law enforcement, but Braidwood Police Chief Todd Lyons said that in addition to a crime fighting tool, the cameras are useful for overall community safety.

“Right now it’s a great tool,” Lyons said. “Let’s say someone’s dad has dementia, and they’re missing. We can find them. That’s really, truthfully the best of everything right now. If someone comes in and they’re missing, or there’s a crime in another town but they come through Braidwood, we have these plate readers.”

The city is on of several local communities all over Will County that utilizes the cameras. Both Wilmington and Braidwood have cameras that were paid for through a special program from the Will County State’s Attorney.

Developed first in suburban Atlanta by a resident of a Home Owners Association in an attempt to capture the culprits who had burglarized several cars, the cameras have now become a nationwide law enforcement tool. The cameras can assist law enforcement in proactively preventing crime by sending real-time alerts to law enforcement when a stolen car or known wanted suspect from a national crime database enters the jurisdiction. When any type of disturbance or crime is reported, a review of the camera date can yield the license plate or plates of those responsible.

Flock cameras allow police to search by vehicle make, color, type and license plate, to identify the state of the license plate, to capture temporary plates, vehicles with a missing, covered or paper plate, unique vehicle details like roof racks, bumper stickers, and even vehicles without plates.

Lyons noted that a recent murder in Morris, as well as a murder last year in Elwood, were both solved with the assistance of the cameras.

“It’s such a great tool,” he said, adding that the city of Braidwood will soon place a camera near the campus of Reed-Custer Middle School and High School.

“It’s phenomenal having them by the schools,” Lyons added. “It makes people feel safer.”

Flock Safety cameras are in use in Braidwood, Wilmington, Shorewood, Lewis University, Beecher, Elwood, Homer Glen, Manhattan, and Mokena, among other jurisdictions in Will County, across Illinois, and across the country.