License plate scanner technology used to catch truck burglar

Police say the man who broke into an east Texas home and stole the homeowner's truck at gunpoint is behind bars tonight.

Tyler Police say Robert Freeman was found and arrested in Dallas. The Dallas County Sheriff's Department found freeman through the use of a license plate scanner. KLTV 7's Courtney Lane talked to the homeowner's daughter and police who are relieved tonight and credit the arrest to this relatively new technology.

"Why did he come in our house? Why our house?"

It was just before midnight Sunday when Freeman broke into the Gonzalez family's home.

Daniela Gonzalez says Freeman busted open the door, went to her parent's bedroom pulling out a gun, and demanding keys to her dad's truck.

"I was angry that he was pointing a gun at my parents. I was scared as well cause I thought I was going to lose them. They could have died, one of us could have been hurt. And you know you're not safe at home, you're not safe anywhere," said Daniela.

But the very next day, police caught a break.

Robert Freeman was found at a Dallas hotel with the truck. But he might not have been arrested without the help of license plate scanning technology.

"It scanned his license plate and came back as a stolen vehicle out of Tyler. They set up on the vehicle, they waited for the suspect to come out and get in the vehicle and then they took him down, so excellent police work," said Tyler officer Don Martin.

Tyler City Marshals recently got license plate scanners, and it's been helping them clear up a lot of warrants.

"When the patrol car goes by the vehicles, the camera is zooming in on those license plates and automatically running all those license plates through the computer system. So it'll cross reference it and say hey this is a stolen vehicle out of Tyler and boom it comes up automatically," said Officer Martin.

And in this case, it's helping the Gonzalez find justice, and helping neighbors rest easy.

"I'll sleep soundly at night," said Ethel Ross, a nearby neighbor of the Gonzalez'.

Freeman is being held in the Dallas County Jail on a $250,000 bond.

He will be brought back to Smith County, where he faces a burglary of a habitation charge.

The truck, by the way, is in good shape and the owner is on his way Tuesday evening to pick it up.

Courtney Lane, reporting.