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Shortly before noon on Monday, August 12, a sheriff’s helicopter began circling over my neighborhood — just north of the Bancroft Drive and Campo Road intersection in La Mesa — announcing over their loudspeaker that they were looking for “a car theft suspect that fled on foot in this area.”

The suspect was described as “a male Hispanic, 30 years old, wearing a grey shirt and green shorts; if [seen], call 911.”

I looked out my bathroom window, as I always do when a sheriff’s helicopter is flying nearby, and saw a man standing just barely within my view under a tree by a front bedroom window. Startled as he looked my way, I jumped away from the window and then ran to grab my cell phone and camera.

Unable to see him after returning to the bathroom window, I moved toward the front bedroom. Closer to the road now, but still in my front yard, I realized that he was not the suspect everyone was searching for; this guy, the one I saw lurking outside my windows, was in a blue uniform.

Then, without a word having been said, all of the law-enforcement people that had been swarming all over the neighborhood suddenly left, including the sheriff’s helicopter.

Unsure if their quick departure meant he was still being sought after or if the suspect had been apprehended, I contacted the Lemon Grove Sheriff’s Station to find out. According to the dispatcher I spoke with, the “car theft suspect was apprehended and is now in custody.”

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Comments

Ponzi Aug. 12, 2013 @ 10:58 p.m.

I remember when I was 19 years old and those old "Astrea" surplus choppers were zooming around the county. My friend and I shined a 300,000 candle power light at the chopper. I was actually a licensed private pilot at the time. But this was when Astrea first was in its infancy and most people did not like the noise and buzzing around. We were pulled over by an SDPD, but they let us go. Today, they would charge you with a felony. Something to think about as we Americans continues to permit our local law enforcement regimes become more like the military. The next stop is drones. We are slowly accepting "security" as a replacement of our "liberty." We elect losers like Gore as Sheriff, and ignore his miserable record. We don't examine who we vote into office to represent us and then we are surprised that we are spied on, lied to and are subject to one cover-up after another. These helicopters cost millions of dollars and alleviate far too little crime for the cost. Taxpayer money is wasted in the high-tech toys used by unqualified people. Only once in a while, the choppers actually are instrumental in apprehending a criminal. It is a huge waste of money and it is a constant disturbance of the peace.

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Visduh Aug. 13, 2013 @ 11:40 a.m.

Absolutely. I know of many instances when the chopper is called out to circle the airspace over a freeway crash. Why? Slow night or day, and they might as well observe the clean up from the air, I suppose. Maybe the bird occasionally adds some light. We're told of the near-astronomical cost of operating a typical helicopter for an hour, yet they'll have one circling a simple traffic accident scene for a half hour or more. Makes no sense from either an enforcement standpoint or economic standpoint.

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