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CBS 2 Exclusive: Cops Say Criminals Are Going High-Tech, Using Drones To Case Victims

NEWARK, N.J. (CBSNewYork) -- The military uses drones to carry bombs or conduct surveillance, but anyone can buy a drone without a weapon that uses high-definition cameras and GPS, even criminals.

Authorities say they captured a New Jersey man, identified as Duane Holmes, in Pennsylvania with not only dozens of stolen cell phones in his car, but also a drone.

An officer had observed the same drone hovering over the Upper Saucon Police Department conducting surveillance the day before the burglary of a Verizon store in town, CBS 2's Christine Sloan exclusively reported.

"The way to get into buildings, the easiest way to get into commercial buildings is through different ducts and vents that are on the rook, and that is a way to check and case how they are going to get into buildings without having to climb on the roof in advance," security expert Dan Coleman explained.

Authorities say Chaviv Dykes, of Newark, was charged with the burglary of the Pennsylvania Verizon store.

An exclusive memo obtained by CBS 2 linked Dykes and Holmes to a burglary ring which has been operating out of several states, including New Jersey, Sloan reported.

Authorities were able to recover digital video recordings from the drone, Sloan reported. One of the shots was of the Cityplex 12 theater in Newark.

The recordings also included still shots of I-495 in Union City heading toward the Lincoln Tunnel, and West 38th Street in Manhattan, Sloan reported.

Coleman heads an investigative firm and used to work with a robbery task force unit. He said criminals are getting sophisticated, and that the public should be worried.

"As you can imagine gated communities, places that are well-protected, and properties that are well protected. If you can put a drone above the property it is wide open," Coleman said.

While drones are restricted for commercial use, they are not highly regulated for private citizens to operate.

"I don't think it's appropriate for anyone to be flying over anyone's property without permission," Tasia Ward said.

It's something that police are worried about too. Authorities said that the drone did not contain video of the police department.

Information about the case and the defendants' attorney has not been released.

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