Online police scanners alert community during manhunt

GOOSE CREEK, SC (WCSC) Another manhunt for escaped Berkeley County inmate James Sanders turned up empty after he was spotted twice in Summerville 24 hours ago. During the second search in a week, people who live in the area glued themselves to a technology that's growing in popularity to follow the search and protect themselves if the search started heading their way.

"It's time to get on the scanner," said Ericka Bungert, spinning in around to turn up computer speakers barking out commands on her desk.

Ericka and her husband Rob Bungert have transformed their living room into a makeshift command center over the last few weeks for moments like this.

"Between me and my wife we've got five computers setup," said Rob. "It gives us the ability to listen to scanner."

The Bungert's have been surrounded by police scanner chatter since they first heard an escaped inmate was spotted in the area.

"I heard them say they had the dogs out and they found footprints," says Rob.

While police were on the trail of escaped Berkeley County inmate James Sanders in Summerville, the couple were following along with the hunt from home.

"It gives you that bit of safety knowing that things are happening," says Bungert, who also says it gave his family an idea of where the search was heading.

At one point during the hours of transmissions the Bungert's were listening to they say Sanders got as close as a mile away from their parents home.

"It was freaking me out because she's all out there by herself," said Ericka Bungert talking about her mother-in-law. "I got on the phone and I called her and I said mom don't be scared if you hear helicopters and see lights."

But the Bungert's weren't the only ones listening to the manhunt in Berkeley County.  Almost 180 people were logged on and listening to a online police scanner on into the night and the next day.

That number isn't counting those who followed the chase on the iPhone's Police Scanner's 5-0 Radio app or Android's Scanner Radio.

"The technology is going to be phenomenal," says Rob Bungert. "It's just going to get better and better and more people are going to get more involved."

The Bungert's are trying to spread the word to the rest of their community and hope to set up a program with the police department to teach their neighbors what to listen for in the future.

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