West Hartford PD searches for suspect in car burglary, using video-sharing program to deter future incidents

WEST HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) – West Hartford Police are asking the public to be on high alert and take precautions following an armed man who attempted to steal cars in several neighborhoods.

Ring camera footage sent to police via a video-sharing program on Monday helped inform them of an attempted car break-in on Berkshire Road. In the video, a suspect tries the door handles of several cars parked in a driveway and appears to be holding a black handgun.

Police said none of the cars were successfully seized, there was no damage and no one was injured.

The suspect in the video was described as a light-skinned man wearing a navy “Champion” brand hoodie and blue jeans. In the footage, he is seen getting into the driver’s seat of a black SUV and leaving the scene before police arrive.

Police said they located the vehicles based on descriptions from the video and notified owners who were unaware of the incident.

An hour later, the West Hartford Police Department was notified that a vehicle had been stolen on Vardon Road. Responding officers discovered the same suspect and the same suspicious vehicle attempting to break into four cars parked in another driveway. Police said one was unlocked with the keys inside, which was stolen.

Police said a handgun was also seen in footage of the incident. No one was injured and no other vehicles were damaged or entered, police said.

Captain Eric Rocheleau showed News 8 how the video-sharing program has changed the speed at which law enforcement can respond to such incidents. He said the near real-time access to video not only let them know what they were dealing with, but also helped them relay the information immediately to nearby police departments.

“We’re able to share information so quickly that we can get the car out and in 20 minutes or half an hour we can spot that car in another city doing the same thing over and over again, and that sharing of information is huge,” said Rocheleau.

The West Hartford Police Department also has a very active undercover unit that monitors video feeds and patrols neighborhoods at night. Having the video sharing program is helpful, but they are also looking to extend cameras to their street corners.

“We’re looking at putting more cameras here so we can share information back and forth. East Hartford and Wethersfield also have a program, and we’re looking to get more technology involved in that area here as well…” Rocheleau said.

The police department reminds residents to lock their vehicles and hide their valuables.

You can click here to sign up for the Video Sharing Program, which helps police identify potential criminal activity that may have been caught on your video system. An important aspect to highlight is that users must physically share their video with the police – the police cannot come in and watch it without their permission.

Shirley K. Rosa