2 Teens Use Drone to Track and Catch Boat Thieves

Two teens vacationing in Washington used a drone to track down boat thieves.

ByABC News
July 21, 2016, 11:05 AM

— -- Alleged boat thieves were chased down Wednesday by a camera-equipped drone flown by a 14-year-old boy vacationing on Camano Island, Washington, police said.

Two teenage boys, Chris Harris and a friend, visiting from the San Francisco Bay Area, were staying at their family's vacation home and tied their boat to a buoy Tuesday evening.

When they awoke the next morning at around 11 a.m., they heard suspicious motor-boat sounds coming from the Saratoga Passage, where they had tied their boat, Chris told ABC News.

After looking out their window, they saw the suspects attempting to take the boat, tying it to a speedboat, Chris said. The teens started shouting at the alleged thieves and the suspects took off, boat in tow.

The boys called 911 and Chris took action.

He quickly got his drone into the air and started recording, chasing the suspects down with no other way to find or track them.

"The drone was given to me as a graduation gift from my parents for making honor roll," Chris said.

It is a "DJI Phantom with a 4K camera on it,” he added.

Following the boat at full speed, about 50 mph, the drone eventually lost track of the suspects.

But Chris was able to get the general location of their boat and informed law enforcement which direction it was heading.

Police watched the video from the drone and figured out where the boats was likely going, according to Sgt. Scott Fague of the Camano Island Sheriff's Department.

Officials were waiting for the suspects at the presumed destination when the two boats arrived.

The two suspects, whom authorities had not named Wednesday night, were arrested.

Authorities called this a "highly unique and very interesting case."