Iron Sky Key to Busting Serial Robber
The new Norcross Police tool leads to first big victory.
The Norcross Police were able to track down a suspect who they believe was connected to 15 armed robberies in Gwinnett County—and it is all thanks to a surveillance system bought with seized drug money.
The Iron Sky system is a wireless network of cameras in the City of Norcross. The cameras aren’t “watched” by officers, but they are recording 24 hours a day, allowing investigators to tap into a wealth of footage mostly after a crime occurrs.
In this particular case, police suspected a man, later identified later as 28-year-old Derrick Cage of Snellville, of a string of 15 armed robberies in Gwinnett County. Three cell phones store in the City of Norcross were among those thought to be linked to the case, as Norcross Patch reported earlier. Currently Cage is only being charged with one of the Norcross robberies.
“There no doubt that it’s worth the investment since we didn’t even pay for it—the drug dealers are paying for it,” said Sgt. Bill Grogan, an investigator with the Norcross Police Dept. who helped tracked down the suspect.
Norcross Police knew the date and time of the incident, so they “worked backwards,” reviewing Iron Sky footage that matched the description of the silver Dodge Charger one victim described.
They only caught part of the plates on camera, said Grogan, so they used the layout and graphics on the plate to determine that is was a specialized Michigan tag. A search in police databases further narrowed the field. Investigators found an arrest photo from a traffic citation and it matched the footage captured by businesses. They had their suspect.
Norcross Police announced that they would pursue the system last January, but the company did not fully had over the reigns to the police department until the end of last year, according to Grogan and Cpt. Brian Harr.
Grogan said there's two-fold purpose for using the surveillance system. First, with cameras at major intersections, the police can review traffic accidents and determine who is at fault if they get into a case of “he said, she said.” Second, they can review footage when crimes are reported to get a read on a license plate or vehicle description.
Grogan says in the first few months they’ve had lots of successes reviewing traffic accidents—and a few successes with smaller criminal cases as well. “This is definitely the first major case that used it,” he said. “We’re very impressed with it in just a few months.”
The new Police Chief Warren Summers is apparently a fan as well. Grogan said the Chief is behind a full implementation of the systems, meaning cameras and every “major and moderately major” intersection, which would entail an estimated 75 to 100 cameras. “That way if a crime happens in Norcross, we have a high probability of catching whoever did it,” said Grogan.