Madison, WI, police evacuated a movie a movie theater and used a drone to locate five teens who were reported to have fled the scene of a nearby stolen vehicle rollover crash. Police found a loaded handgun in the wrecked car and knew the occupants ran from the scene and entered the theater.
The incident drew a heavy police presence at Marcus Point Cinema, which included the Madison Police Department’s SWAT team and a crisis negotiator, reports Madison.com. Police evacuated the theater where the teens were hiding but not the additional theaters in the movie complex.
“My understanding is they actually acquired tickets to try to appear to be customers,” Assistant Police Chief Brian Austin said in a press conference. “All five subjects were located hiding behind the theater screen in various locations. They were located using traditional search methods that police usually do and also technological methods as well, including the use of an interior drone by members of our SWAT team.”
Austin fielded questions about the drone during the press conference.
“It's a part of the equipment with the SWAT team. We've got a number of technological resources which we can employ, which allows us to not send officers into an area that we're unsure about and allows us a lot of flexibility in terms of the process to go in,” Austin explained.
He said the team has had the drone for some time now and it was “quite successful” in use at the theater. The assistant chief also explained it is up to the individual team leaders and the drone operators to determine if a situation dictates the drone should be deployed.
“Given the size of the theater yesterday, given the fact that there was a screen blocking our view of these people, it was determined that it would be a good,” he said.
Police did not locate any weapons in the theater. Four of the teens taken into custody range in age from 14 to 16 and the additional teen is 17, police said.