By G.W. Schulz and Amanda Pike
The Center for Investigative Reporting
COMPTON, Calif. — When sheriff’s deputies here noticed a burst of necklace snatchings from women walking through town, they turned to an unlikely source to help solve the crimes: a retired Air Force veteran named Ross McNutt.
McNutt and his Ohio-based company, Persistent Surveillance Systems, persuaded the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department to use his surveillance technology to monitor Compton’s streets from the air and track suspects from the moment the snatching occurred.
The system, known as wide-area surveillance, is something of a time machine — the entire city is filmed and recorded in real time. Imagine Google Earth with a rewind button and the ability to play back the movement of cars and people as they scurry about the city.
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