A drone and a dog were key to an arrest

By on Tuesday, May 23rd, 2023 in Columbia Basin News More Top Stories

HEPPNER – Marco Antonio Garcia, 37, of Boardman was arraigned in Morrow County Circuit Court Monday afternoon. He is facing multiple charges including an alleged theft from Easterday Farms on May 14.

Because of an earlier theft, the owner of the farm had invested in surveillance cameras. Those were activated and the owner immediately notified the Morrow County Sheriff’s Office, according to Morrow County District Attorney Justin Nelson. He said getting Garcia into custody involved the sheriff’s office and K-9 Telly, the Boardman Police Department, and a drone operator from the Boardman Fire Department.

A truck pulling a horse trailer full of allegedly stolen items took off when Deputy Colleen Neubert arrived. She pursued the suspect, but during the attempt to elude a tire came off the horse trailer and both the truck and the trailer became stuck in a potato field. The suspect then fled on foot.

A Boardman police officer who responded as backup recalled that the Boardman Fire Department was training on a drone. He contacted the department and the operator agreed to use the drone to find the suspect.

“He was burrowing in the dirt in an attempt to hide,” the news release from MCSO states. “Only his face was showing. … He initially did not cooperate, then the K-9 stepped forward and began barking. The suspect was then taken into custody without further incident.

Nelson said the grand jury was impressed with the use of a drone.

“We actually had some still photos from that drone that I showed to the grand jury,” he said. “You see a large irrigation circle, and in the middle you see a little form of a body.”

With this arrest Garcia now has four open criminal cases against him in Morrow County. Charges against him now include second-degree burglary, unauthorized use of a vehicle, possession of a stolen vehicle, and first-degree aggravated theft.