Mokena police use drone to help ISP catch 3 fugitives

A suburb's relatively new drone program is rising to new heights, after helping state police capture three suspected fugitives.

The Mokena Police Department is developing a reputation in the south suburbs for its expertise at using drones.

On Monday, FOX 32 Chicago got our first look at a drone capture that happened last week.

Illinois State Police stopped three men in a car on I-55 who then sped away, later abandoning their vehicle on the interstate at Weber Road.

State police called in the Mokena Police Department drone officer, and even though it was 2 a.m., the drone’s infrared lens was able to pick up the heat signatures of three people lying in a field about a quarter mile from the abandon car in Romeoville.


The drone officer relayed their position to officers on the ground, who then ordered them to march with their hands up across the field to a nearby industrial park, where police were waiting to take them into custody.

All three have been charged with unlawful use of a weapon, possession of a stolen firearm, obstructing justice, and two of the offenders with armed habitual criminals.

Scentrell Prince, 43, of Chicago; 32-year-old Fredrick Lawrence of Chicago; and 29-year-old Demond Moore of Hanover Park are facing charges for Unlawful Use of Weapon, Possession of a Stolen Firearm, and Obstructing Justice. 

(left to right) Scentrell Prince, Demond Moore, and Fredrick Lawrence.

Mokena Sergeant Robert Miller showed us the drone that was used and explain how the infrared camera allowed them to catch the suspects.

"The infrared capability is basically heat seeking. What it does is it detects the heat signature of people, objects, in fact if you watch the video close enough, when you see the three people stand up, you can actually still see the ground underneath them is still slightly illuminated from their body heat. So it’s that sensitive," Miller said.

The department has about four of these droves. They've been called on to use them 24 times since the program began in July 2021.

The drones have also helped find missing people.