Peoria police using Sky Tower to crack down on shoplifters

Posted at 7:35 PM, Dec 21, 2016
and last updated 2016-12-22 08:59:57-05

Peoria police are keeping an extra set of eyes on shoppers this holiday season. They have their Sky Tower parked in various shopping centers around the city, looking for suspicious activity from high above. 

ABC15 went up into the unit for the first time on Wednesday. A little lever brings the unit up about 30 feet. Two officers usually sit inside and keep watch.

"We put it here because you can get a bird's eye view in a large area," said Officer Brandon Sheffert with the Peoria Police Department.

The department got the unit through a grant. And they watch for shoplifters running out of stores and thieves trying to target shoppers' goods. 

"All you need to see is somebody's head drop down near a car or pop up from a car or run," said Sheffert. "And you can see that a lot better from up here." 

Many shoppers stopped by the unit, asking what it does and how it works. Many of them said they like the extra set of eyes on them and their goods. 

"The fact that people may be shopping all day and going in and out of stores, they're just keeping eye on everyone," said shopper Scott Kaczynski. 

One woman said she chose to park her car right next to it when she spotted it in her shopping center.

"I always park in this area, and I thought he had a straight shot to look at my trunk," said