New Surveillance Device Being Tested in Chicago Suburbs? What IS This Thing?

A correspondent sent us the following report and accompanying photographs of what appears to be a prototype of a new mobile surveillance device which is apparently being tested in the northwest suburbs of Chicago.

It was photographed at a storage facility in Morton Grove, IL, where it was being operated by one man who was part of a team of as many as 5 men who were accompanying or escorting the main vehicle with the prototype surveillance device.

Here is our correspondents’ report:

“A friend and I were at his storage space in Morton Grove chilling out and drinking a few beers on Aug 31 when my friend noticed what he said was a car with a bunch of cameras on the roof.  I thought he’d been in the sun too long; I could see that there was a weird looking thing on the car’s roof but I’m couldn’t see it clearly because I’d left my glasses at home.  My buddy walked past the vehicle on his way to the bathroom and when he came back he said he’d never seen anything like it and they must be some kind of cops or something.  So I walked over and took a look.  As soon as I got near the vehicle with the cameras, I could see it was something really strange and so I whipped out my cell and started shooting pictures of the thing. 

Unidentified surveillance device spotted in Morton Grove, IL on August 31, 2014. "Test engineer" is sitting in the passenger seat.

Unidentified surveillance device spotted in Morton Grove, IL on August 31, 2014. “Test engineer” is sitting in the passenger seat.

“There was a guy sitting in the passenger’s seat with what looked like a laptop computer closed up in his lap; the driver was somewhere else.  I asked the guy “What is this thing?”  He said that “it’s for surveying roads”.  Not satisfied with that answer I asked him: “for who?”.  He said he didn’t know who the customer was and that he was just helping to test the device to make sure it was working well. 

“I started to examine it more closely to see if it had a manufacturer’s name tag on it somewhere and went around to the opposite side of the vehicle to take pics of the other side.  So far as I could see there were no decals identifying the manufacturer of the device.  It wasn’t a drone; it had no propellers or fuel tank that I could see.  It was apparently designed to sit on the roof of the car.  As I got ready to take the picture, a man got out of the passenger’s side of a second vehicle parked beside the test vehicle and told me that I should stop taking pictures of the device.  He said “it’s not a public space”.  I immediately took another picture and told him that that was nonsense because it was certainly in a public place and anyone had a right to take pictures of it. I asked him what it was and he said “that doesn’t matter” or something like that.

Unidentified surveillance device spotted in Morton Grove, IL on August 31, 2014.

Unidentified surveillance device spotted in Morton Grove, IL on August 31, 2014.

He made no attempt to physically prevent me from photographing and just went back to his car.  The driver got out at the same time but just stood there and said nothing and made no attempt to stop me from taking photos.  They were mildly intimidating though, so when they got back in their car I turned around and took a photo of their car so I could get their license plate.

Escort vehicle accompanying unidentified surveillance device spotted in Morton Grove, IL on August 31, 2014.

Escort vehicle accompanying unidentified surveillance device spotted in Morton Grove, IL on August 31, 2014.

“I then walked to the bathroom and noticed another guy walking towards me from the bathroom as I headed in that direction.  He must have been the driver of the test vehicle.  He said nothing and just walked past me.

“I have seen these guys back at the same location; they appear to be storing the device in that storage facility and have been driving it around for the past several days at least.”

This could very well be an innocuous surveyor’s vehicle or even a test bed for some kind of scientific instrument of some kind; or it could be a “Google Street View”-type surveillance device – who knows?  If any of our readers have any insights into what this thing is, leave a comment and we’ll try to figure it out.

Full sized image - left front of device

Full sized image – left front of device

 

Full-sized image; right rear side of device

Full-sized image; right rear side of device

IWPCHI

 

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