Sacramento County officers arrested a man who drove a stolen car right to their front door. Clifford Amey was taken into custody after license plate scanners recognized his vehicle.
"Bing. Stolen vehicle," warns a mechanical voice. Meet Robocop- an electronic eye that scans for stolen cars. It's a camera, mounted on Sacramento County Probation Department cars. But when it comes to finding thieves sometimes, it doesn't have to look far.
"Typically they don’t bring it to the office. So this one is one of those dumb crook stories,” said Don Meyer, Chief of Sacramento County Probation Department.
Clifford Amey, in a shiny gold Mercedes, pulled in to the parking lot of the probation offices for an appointment with an officer May 3rd. It was a Mercedes, police say, he'd bought with a hot check, in other words, they say it was stolen.
"But he came into the wrong office. And this office is outfitted with automated license plate readers,” said Meyer.
Wait. It wasn't even the office he was supposed to come to?
“Correct,” Meyer laughed.
Robocop recognized the allegedly licentious license plate right away and probation officers took Amey into custody. It's the kind of thing that's been happening a lot lately.
“There's been about a 50% drop over the last year in the number of stolen vehicles," Meyer said.
That’s a pretty good return on the $44,000 investment for the cameras, which are essentially an electronic deputy that's always got its eyes peeled.
Meanwhile, Sacramento County officials say criminal justice system in Fresno has first dibs on Clifford Amey. He has been extradited to Fresno County, where he had outstanding warrants.