A chronic bank robber found out that the third time isn’t always a charm—sometimes it’s strike three for the out. A single bank branch in Chicago has been robbed three times this year, once in January and twice in May. The third time, however, a quick-thinking teller slipped a little something extra into the unauthorized withdrawal. Just a few minutes later, police caught up to the unsuspecting thief and had him red-handed.
Jerome Jackson must have thought he had found an easy target in the TCF Bank, and the robbery on May 22 proceeded just as he had planned it, with one minor exception. After he passed a demand note to the teller, he warned her to give him the money so that no one would get hurt. The teller followed his instructions, but added a little extra parting gift as well: a small, unobtrusive GPS tracker hidden between two stacks of cash. Without noticing the tracker, Jackson stuck the money in his pockets and walked out.
Just a few minutes later and a short distance from the bank, Jackson received a visit from police officers, who apprehended him and found the GPS tracker in a rather undesirable location: his right sock. All the stolen money was in his sock and his pants pocket, and the police arrested him and took him in for questioning. It is expected that Jackson will also face charges for the robberies at the same branch in January and May. The most recent robbery took place on May 12, just ten days prior to the “third-strike” incident.
As the size of a GPS tracker becomes smaller, its usefulness in law enforcement increases. Previous devices could never have been concealed in a stolen item as small as a stack of bills without the thief noticing it. However, this incident shows that nearly any desirable item can now be protected and quickly retrieved if stolen. Police in some areas have already been hiding similar devices in rolls of copper wire, a material that is easy to steal and hard to keep protected. When thieves make off with these “tagged” items, they invite police straight to their hideout, with virtually no detective work required. GPS may become the greatest theft deterrent that police have had access to in a very long time.