License plate scanners help catch Sugar Land gunman

- It's business as usual in and around Sugar Land town center.

Well, almost.

"It's a bit weird this happened in Sugar Land." said shopper Mariah Bennet.

The "this" she's talking about happened on the night of July 12, when someone fired almost a dozen shots out of the window of a dark sedan driving through town center.

The bullets hit several buildings but, fortunately, no people.

Within hours police had arrested Jarrod Wilson in Missouri City.

"Absolutely we did get a break." Said Sugar Land Assistant Police Chief Eric Robins. 

Here's how they got that break: Witnesses gave police vehicle description and a time frame. Police located a picture of the vehicle captured by one of the half dozen or so license plate readers in the area. They ran the plate and viola -- they had an address.

"We'd love to have more cameras. It's a great tool for us, but  it's just one tool in our tool box. It's not going to solve every crime but we know the technology helps us,” said Robins.

The readers have another trick up their sleeves. Police can type in a specific plate and if the scanners detect it, they'll get a notification.

Sugar Land Police have had these for about five years and have sued them to solve over twenty major crimes.

At this point you might be thinking this is a little "Big Brothery."

For some people, no doubt it is.  After all, who wants their license plate scanned every time they pass through some intersections? But police say they only keep the data for thirty days and then it's purged.

Some shoppers in the area tell us they don't mind them at all.

“It's just here to keep us safe, and if you aren't doing anything wrong you don't have anything to worry about.”

Either way, they're here to stay. Police say they plan to ask city council for the money to buy even more of them.

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