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Standoff Ends With Help of Robot

Standoff Ends With Help of Robot



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SPRINGVILLE, Utah (AP) -- A three-hour standoff ended with the suspect surrendering after a police robot opened his curtains.

John Travis Hart, 37, of Springville surrendered at about 11:30 a.m. Tuesday, four hours after authorities received a call from the man's girlfriend saying he was armed with a sawed-off shotgun, was high on drugs and "wanted a confrontation with a police," police Lt. Dave Caron said.

An interagency Utah County SWAT team surrounded the home.

When attempts to contact Hart at his door and through a bedroom window failed, police deployed the radio-controlled robot.

Using a loudspeaker attached to the robot, negotiators attempted to make contact with Hart.

When he did not respond, police became concerned that he could have left the home before they arrived.

They used the robot's arm to pull the curtains away from an open window. The robot then placed a camera in the window, which revealed Hart inside the home.

After seeing the camera, Hart responded to negotiators and agreed to leave the house.

Caron credited the robot for helping police reach a peaceful resolution.

"(Robots) are great," he said. "They allow us to go up to (a) house where someone is hiding, find them and make contact. The best thing about it is it allows you to keep officers out of danger."

Police said they found a sawed-off shotgun in the home.

Hart was booked into the Utah County Jail for investigation of illegal possession of a firearm.

Hart was on parole for multiple drug convictions in the past three years.

(Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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