Stolen goods farming with GPSes

Back in the 80s junkies were stealing radios from cars. Now it’s GPS units. At Logan Airport, bright signs greet you in the parking lot: REMOVE YOUR GPS UNITS, or words to that effect. I forget exactly. But the point is, they’re bait for thieves.

We have had two stolen in the last two months, both from our parked car in the driveway. The first was a Garmin 340c, and it was sitting on the dashboard. The second was a Garmin Nuvi 680, stolen along with a bunch of other stuff, even though it was hidden.

That was yesterday. I found out when a cop showed up at our front door asking if we’d had a GPS stolen. I said, “Yes, last month.” He said “How about last night?” I said I don’t know. So we went to look at the car, and sure enough, it was gone, along with cables and chargers for varioius stuff, plus a mount for a Sirius satellite radio.

Turns out the cops caught some people in the act, though not at our place. But they found our GPS freshly stolen. They looked up “Home” on it and found our address. Handy.

So we went down to the station to retrieve it last night. Not all the pieces were there (it’s missing a mount piece), but it’s fine. The cops told us not to have any mounts on the dashboard or the windshield, or any exposed power cabling that suggests anything of value is hidden somewhere in the car. So now we’re charging the GPS indoors, and not connecting it to anything inside the car. We just lay it in a space between the front seats and let it work there.

Not exactly the way it was designed to be used, but safer anyway. Sad it’s come to that, though.

[A month later…] Now we have a new routine. The GPS and all cabling (including a splitter and charger cable for our iPhones) go in a dark bag that gets thrown among junk in front of the back seats. The GPS mount, a bean-bag affair, gets turned upside down (where it’s black and looks like nothing other than more junk) and stuffed under one of the front seats. It takes about 40 seconds to set up the GPS, but at least it charges in the car and works like it should. So far, no more thefts. It helps, however, to have a messy car.

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4 Responses to Stolen goods farming with GPSes

  1. Julian Bond says:

    The trick at Heathrow is to cruise round the long stay car park looking for expensive stealable cars with GPS. Steal the car, key in ‘home’, and then go round and empty the house as well.

  2. Julian Bond says:

    Of course that could be an urban myth.

  3. John Oman says:

    In CT we are told to not even leave suction cup prints on the windshield as a tell tale sign of electronics somewhere in the car…

  4. RanchWabble says:

    Wow, stealing a car and using the gps to go “home” and clean out the house is a scary thought. I guess it helps to think like a criminal as long as you don’t go and be one. At least you can be a little safer.

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