RPD UAV tracks burglar, K9 aids in arrest

REDDING — A man is in custody after Redding police officers investigating suspicious activity at a closed business early Sunday morning, found the alleged suspect in the process of stealing a truck. Although the man fled from officers, one of the department’s Unmanned Aerial Vehicles and a police K9 were instrumental in the subject’s eventual apprehension.


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Last Sunday’s early morning arrest happened after an eagle-eyed officer heard suspicious noises coming from the Sonsray Machinery yard, in the area of Ellis and Polk streets. Knowing the business was closed, the officer began investigating and soon spotted a man in the cab of a running pickup truck inside the business’s fenced yard.

“Officer McGinnis requested additional units, as it appeared the subject was in the process of attempting to steal the vehicle,” Redding Police Corporal Harris later explained. But when the alleged suspect, later identified as Ryan Barrett, 48, of Redding, noticed responding officers arriving in the area, he immediately fled and disappeared from view after climbing onto the roof of a nearby business. 

Officers at the scene quickly established a perimeter around the area and requested assistance from CHP’s Aviation Unit, but their helicopter was in another county and unavailable.

Without CHP’s help, officers called in one of their UAV operators who soon launched one of the department’s small quad-copter style aerial vehicles over the area. Using cameras mounted to their UAV, officers used their “eye in the sky” to determine the suspect was hiding inside another fenced yard to the south of the original business.

With assistance from K9 Njord, officers located Barrett hiding inside a vehicle in that yard, where he was apprehended after he “violently resisted arrest.”

During their subsequent investigation, officers determined Barrett illegally entered three separate business yards and was in the process of trying to steal the pickup he was originally spotted inside.

After receiving a medical clearance, Barrett was booked into Shasta County Jail on suspicion of attempted vehicle theft, prowling, vandalism, and resisting arrest.

Ryan Barrett was arrested after fleeing from and then fighting with officers. RPD photo

Contact the writer: trevor.rcns@gmail.com

Trevor Montgomery, 47, moved last year to the Intermountain area of Shasta County from Riverside County and runs Riverside County News Source and Shasta County News Source. Additionally, he writes for several other news organizations; including Riverside County based newspapers, Valley News, The Valley Chronicle, and Anza Valley Outlook; as well as Bonsall/Fallbrook Village News in San Diego County and Mountain Echo in Shasta County.

Trevor spent 10 years in the U.S. Army as an Orthopedic Specialist before joining the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department in 1998. He was medically retired after losing his leg, breaking his back, and suffering both spinal cord and brain injuries in an off-duty accident. (Click here to see segment of Discovery Channel documentary of Trevor’s accident.)

During his time with the sheriff’s department, Trevor worked at several different stations; including Robert Presley Detention Center, Southwest Station in Temecula, Hemet/Valle Vista Station, Ben Clark Public Safety Training Center, and Lake Elsinore Station; along with other locations.

Trevor’s assignments included Corrections, Patrol, DUI Enforcement, Boat and Personal Water-Craft based Lake Patrol, Off-Road Vehicle Enforcement, Problem Oriented Policing Team, and Personnel/Background Investigations. He finished his career while working as a Sex Crimes and Child Abuse Investigator and was a court-designated expert in child abuse and child sex-related crimes.

Trevor has been married for more than 28 years and was a foster parent to more than 60 children over 13 years. He is now an adoptive parent and his “fluid family” includes 13 children and 15 – but soon to be 16 – grandchildren.


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