Late last year, hay bales in Oklahoma began disappearing. In the wake of a severe drought that drove the cost of hay sky-high, thieves began targeting hay for profit. Farmers began suffering losses as the huge bales began mysteriously disappearing from harvested fields. Wanting to get to the bottom of it, the local sheriff acted quickly by setting up a sting operation.
Selecting a recently “hit” farm for the operation, the sheriff placed portable GPS trackers inside hay bales and used the GPS technology to set a geo-fence boundary around the farm. The sheriff then waited to receive the text or email alert that would indicate that one of the GPS-rigged bales was “on the move.” It didn’t take long.
After they received the alert, the GPS tracker made it easy to track the alleged thieves right to their hay stash. After tracking the bales, and placing the suspects under surveillance, officer’s suspicions were confirmed and they soon had confessions from the two local men, who face felony convictions for Knowingly Concealing and Withholding Stolen Property, following the hay heists.
In Fresno, a man, recently released from jail from a parole violation, broke into a landscaping business to steal the keys to a company vehicle parked outside the business. The man quickly made off with the truck. When employees discovered the theft, they notified police and provided coordinates transmitted by the GPS tracker installed in the vehicle.
Police quickly located the truck, along with the suspect, who was considered to be a violent criminal. He didn’t get far. He was found stranded with the truck right where it broke down, alongside the highway.
When a tractor trailer was reported stolen from a Love’s Travel Center on Interstate 40 in Jefferson County, Tennessee law enforcement issued a BOLO (be on the lookout) for the “Carolina Southern” branded Freightliner truck.
Trucking company officials relayed GPS tracking coordinates to law enforcement as it traveled across several highways. When officers were finally able to stop the truck, it bore little resemblance to the vehicle initially reported missing. Officers found that the suspect had affixed new tags to the vehicle, and painted over the original branding with white paint to conceal the truck’s identity. The trailer was reported to have been loaded with over half a million packs of cigarettes, retailing over $3 million.
In this case, the on-board GPS unit turned out to be crucial to the recovery of millions in merchandise.
In Toronto, a case involving professional car thieves led police to crimes in neighborhoods throughout town. Apparently, thieves were casing neighborhoods for high-value automobiles, and then breaking into homes to steal the keys. It took mere seconds for them to drive away in the stolen vehicles. Police were tipped off to the car-theft ring when a vehicle was stolen following a home break-in.
Police soon after placed a GPS tracker on one suspects’ car, and tracked him to several other stolen vehicles. Authorities were surprised when they also tracked the suspect to a Toronto rail yard, and found that thieves were stealing keys to brand new vehicles as they arrived from manufacturers.
Next, the suspects recorded the VIN numbers to those same vehicles. The VIN’s later provided addresses for owners of the newly purchased vehicles. Thieves simply went and picked up the cars using the stolen keys.
Recently in Philadelphia, over 17 pharmacies throughout the city suffered losses as thieves orchestrated a series of armed robberies in search of high demand prescription drugs. In each case, the thieves wore masks and approached pharmacy staff at gunpoint, demanding the pills. Then, the men ran out to a get-away car, making off repeatedly with pills from pharmacies around town.
To catch the thieves, police cleverly positioned small GPS trackers inside pill bottles, and delivered them to targeted pharmacies in the area. This time, when thieves demanded the pills, they also got the GPS tracker.
Agents were able to track the thieves straight to their home, where police were able to make an arrest within hours. Evidence found in the home confirmed that the suspects were likely responsible for the multiple armed robberies occurring throughout the city.
Similarly in New York City, police officials recently announced a plan to track Oxycontin thieves. As narcotic robberies become an increasingly violent crime causing injury and death to law enforcement, pharmacy employees and bystanders, officials are seeking strategies to protect everyone. By planting decoy pill bottles in pharmacies, they hope to track thieves straight to the stash houses where drugs are accumulated for illegal sale and distribution.
To learn more about GPS tracking and GPS tracking applications call (480) 661-1916.