NEW BEDFORD (WBSM) — New Bedford Police used a thermal imaging instrument to assist them in determining contraband possession, which led to an arrest.

On December 1 at around 10:30 p.m., Gang Unit detectives observed Tyler Thomas, 23, walking in the area of Cedar Street and Norton Court before he allegedly fled the scene as police approached him.

Thomas was later stopped in a nearby lot and was allegedly in possession of a spring-loaded knife. After detectives searched the area for other items that may have been disposed of, a Smith & Wesson .38-caliber revolver was reportedly located in a nearby bush.

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Detectives proceeded to use thermal imaging to confirm that the weapon had just been dropped.

Police said that thermal imaging is a valuable tool used in similar investigations, particularly when attempting to establish the possession of narcotics or weapons that a suspect has just dropped.


Police said that when first imaged, the pistol read to be 55 degrees. Approximately 16 minutes later, a second image determined the pistol was 36 degrees, a drop of 19 degrees in a relatively short period.

Due to these results, Thomas was taken into custody and charged with carrying a loaded firearm without a license.

According to officials, through numerous previous interactions, Thomas is well known to the detectives.

He has previous convictions for possession of a Class B substance, assault and battery with a dangerous weapon, and assault and battery.

Police said that at the time of this arrest, Thomas also had an open case in New Bedford District Court for assault and battery stemming from an incident in June.

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