Galveston police put infrared equipment to use

GALVESTON, TX On Monday night, an East Isle Officer was testing a new piece of equipment, a Forward Looking Infra-Red, or FLIR. Galveston Police Officer Marcelino Gonzalez was parked in a dark alley with his lights out in the 1400 block of 20th St at 11:15pm. Using the FLIR, he spotted the heat signature outline of a subject emerge from a backyard. The subject, displayed on the computer screen in the patrol car, appeared to be carrying something.

Officer Gonzalez stopped the subject, who was carrying lawn equipment. Police say the suspect had entered the backyard through a rear gate and taken the items from the homeowner's garage.

Joseph Earl Hall, 44, of Galveston, was arrested and charged with felony theft, because he had two prior theft convictions. His bond was set at $20,000.

The Galveston Police Department recently acquired the FLIR units with a Department of Homeland Security Grant. The FLIR units can be used to locate suspects at night, find missing children and persons, and aid in searches for swimmers and boaters in the water. Officer Gonzalez is assigned to the first of eight patrol cars that will be outfitted with the FLIR systems.

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