As if thieves didn’t have enough advantages against average law abiding citizens already, say hello to the GPS burglar. Enterprising criminals who aren’t afraid to harness technology for their nefarious purposes have taken the next step and are using GPS to keep tabs on their victim’s whereabouts.
While GPS burglaries haven’t yet reached epidemic proportions, the phenomenon seems to be gaining ground in certain areas. The classic manoeuvre of casing the joint is time consuming and requires an investment of resources on the part of the crooks. Knocking on the door to see if anyone answers and then smashing a window is crude and can be risky, especially if the home is armed with surveillance cameras.
Meet the GPS burglar; this cool customer simple places a small tracking device on the intended victim’s vehicle and will know when the owner has left the home, and where they are headed. With the coast clear, our techno savvy GPS burglar can proceed to leisurely clean out the premises and make their escape before the owner returns.
One man is asking, could GPS burglary suspects have placed a GPS device on his vehicle to know his whereabouts? Not long after his home was burgled, the victim found the GPS tracker on his truck.
The owner of a jewelry store believes that one or more burglars planted GPS devices on her car, allowing them to track when her house was empty so they could break in. On the day her home was burgled, the alarm system went offline for unknown reasons and when she came home that evening, her garage had been ransacked. The suspected GPS burglar had stolen possessions stored there while the home was being renovated.
Keep your GPS safe
With approximately 20,000 GPS devices reported stolen nationwide annually, it’s probably inevitable that enterprising thieves will find wider uses for these units.
Don’t let your GPS unit fall into the wrong hands. Here are some tips for keeping your device safely in your custody and not in the possession of some would-be GPS burglar.
- Write down the serial number of your GPS and store it somewhere safe.
- When you leave your vehicle, put your GPS out of sight, along with the cord and bracket.
- Clean off the ring left by the GPS mount. It’s a sure-fire giveaway there’s a device somewhere.
But is there any way you can guarantee a would-be GPS burglar won’t stick a tracking device onto your vehicle? Umm…not really. The latest GPS devices are so small, even a visual sweep may not reveal one planted on your car.
Catch a thief with GPS
If GPS burglars can abuse these devices for crooked purposes, law enforcement can use them for good. Here’s a report of a high-tech takedown in Milwaukee that stopped a one-man burglary machine in his tracks.
Dozens of burglaries had already been committed before police got a break in the case. A sharp-eyed local resident recorded the suspect’s license plate after a break-in and officers began tailing him.
Detectives got a warrant to plant a GPS tracking device under the suspect’s vehicle and were watching as he stashed two full pillowcases in the trunk of his car. The following day, the suspect was tracked using the GPS and arrested with his tools, a pry bar and gloves, on the way to commit another burglary.
While using a tracking device to follow their victim’s movements, GPS burglars should keep in mind, technology can sometimes backfire.