Stealing the Wrong Car with GPS Tracking

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By Greg Bartlett

Your mom thinks you’re at a friend’s house, studying, but you’re not. She doesn’t know that pretty much every day after school, you head downtown and scout out the cars, looking for things to steal from them. You have a friend who steals the cars themselves, and someday you intend to work up to that, but for now you’re just sticking with taking electronics and other valuables from the vehicles.


You finally pick a vehicle that looks like a good target. You can clearly see a laptop and a cell phone left in the car by careless owners. You’ve gotten good at breaking in, so it takes you about thirty seconds to unlock the car. Then you start searching the car quickly, trying to make sure you’ve gotten everything of value.

And yes, that is a police officer right behind you, telling you you’re under arrest. You try to tell him it’s your friend’s car, but he doesn’t believe you. He has a good reason not to – the car is owned by the police, and it’s a bait car just waiting for people like you.

A bait car is usually put in areas where the community has had problems with car break-ins and auto thefts. Valuables such as the ones you were targeting are placed inside, and the car itself is equipped with GPS vehicle tracking. If the car is broken into, it alerts police at once.

If you’d decided to steal the car, like your friend would have done, the GPS vehicle tracking unit would have alerted police when the car was moved, and would have continued to send information to police as you drove. If police wanted to, they could then use the GPS vehicle tracking device to shut off the car or to slow it down so it could only go a couple miles an hour, and to lock the doors. Um, that’s right, you would have been locked in, unable to escape, while the car just sat there, waiting for the police to arrive and arrest you.

This looked like an easy car, sure. You could get into it quickly, get a couple items, sell them at the pawn shop, and have the extra cash you wanted. But because of GPS vehicle tracking, your target wasn’t so easy. You picked a bait car – so instead of cash, you got a ticket to jail. Maybe you should have gone to that friend’s house to study instead.

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