A Prince George’s County flight crew caught three suspected thieves breaking into cars parked at an auto repair shop early Thursday morning, authorities said.

Helicopter pilot Cpl. Bo Corser and helicopter observer Cpl. Brian Catlett were flying the skies in Air 1 at about 3:30 a.m. when they saw a car driving through Upper Marlboro without its headlights on, Prince George’s police spokesman Lt. William Alexander said.

“That rouses their suspicion,” Alexander said. “They see the car stop, and they watch the guys scale the fence and systematically go through the cars of this fenced lot.”

Corser and Catlett called in the activity to officers on the ground, leading patrol units to the 7800 block of Penn Western Court.

When officers on the ground arrived, the crew in the air was able to “assist from above, and they were able to guide them right there to the suspects,” Alexander said. “We got all three suspects without any incident.”

Police arrested 23-year-old Nico Eddie Williams, 23-year-old Jaguar Giavonnie Carey and 20-year-old Joseph Tyrone Wilkerson in connection with the incident. All face trespassing, theft and other charges.

The helicopter’s thermal flight cameras caught the whole incident on video, which shows three dark figures jumping over the fence into the lot and going through the cars.

Usually the flight crew from Air 1 goes on specific missions or answers requests for assistance from patrol officers on the ground who need a vantage point from the sky, Alexander said.

But “there is a small percentage of time when they just fly around looking for bad guys,” Alexander said. “Thursday was one of those days.”

Get updates on your area delivered via e-mail