After an attempted murder suspect armed with a rifle was chased into the desert on Sept. 8, he barricaded himself using a dirt berm and wire fencing; Los Angeles County sheriffs say they tried for six hours to get him to surrender. Finally, officers skillfully plucked the gun right out of Brock Ray Bunge's hideout—without putting their lives in danger. "The robot was a game changer," Capt. Jack Ewell tells the Los Angeles Times of the department's $300,000 Andros robot that did the deed; it's typically used to defuse bombs but is becoming increasingly useful in other cases.
Officers say they were using the device to learn more about Bunge's position when they noticed Bunge was lying on his stomach with his weapon at his feet. While officers distracted Bunge, the robot grabbed the gun "without him noticing," says Ewell. The robot then went back to remove the fencing, and Bunge surrendered as soon as he realized his gun was missing, police add; he has pleaded not guilty to charges including attempted murder and robbery. Though the robot that nicked the gun is expensive, "when it saves lives, it is more than worth it," Ewell says. Officers also used a robot during the Dallas shooting. Dutch police believe robots can even replace drug-sniffing dogs, reports the NL Times. (Read more robots stories.)