It’s debatable whether this particular burglar was really that stupid, but I liked the story enough to include it in this series of posts. What’s also interesting is how newer technologies are increasingly helping to solve crimes: examples include DNA matching with evidence left at a crime scene, video images of a burglar that are circulated to help identify the intruder, and in this case, the use of GPS tracking. For those not familiar with the term, GPS stands for Global Positioning System, and describes the process used to locate anything from cell phones to vehicles to troops. Many employers use these devices to keep track of service trucks – and that’s exactly what happened in this case of GPS sleuthing, recently reported from California.
Sometimes criminals get away with burglaries, and sometimes they don’t – not when there is solid GPS tracking evidence. On Christmas Day 2008, Shawn Michael Smith burglarized a home in Temecula, CA. At the time of the robbery, Smith did not realize the work truck he was driving had a GPS tracking device installed under the hood.
Putting the Pieces Together
During the police investigation, someone in the neighborhood told the police that a tow truck that had not been seen before in the neighborhood was parked near the house during the burglary. The detectives were able to determine which towing company owned the tow truck. Police learned that the tow truck was outfitted with a GPS tracking device. Police then subpoenaed the GPS tracking system records and determined that the truck was, in fact, parked in front of the home during the time of the burglary.
No Way Out
Shawn Michael Smith was the only driver of the vehicle. Based on the GPS tracking evidence, the police arrested Smith. The Riverside District Attorney also used the GPS tracking data to help get a conviction. The CEO of the GPS company served as an expert witness to attest to the validity of the GPS tracking system data during Mr. Smith’s trial. He said, “The defense attorney couldn’t refute the accuracy of the GPS tracking data. Mr. Smith took a plea deal immediately after my testimony.”
Technology Helps Fights Crime
GPS tracking has become an invaluable tool for criminal investigators and law enforcement. Criminal investigators have found a variety of uses for GPS tracking. GPS tracking can be used to investigate suspected criminals, GPS trackers can be used to monitor individuals on probation or parole, and GPS tracking can be used to locate stolen items.
We like to pass on these stories when we find them. Sad to say, there is no lack of criminal activity to report on from around the US, especially when it comes to residential burglaries. It’s our goal to be your resource for the crime statistics, burglar behaviors, and the latest technologies to thwart intruders – including our very popular Top 10 Home Security Tips. FrontPoint is the only alarm company in the country to use safer cellular monitoring on every system we sell – and charge less for it. But what people really know us for is our smarter Interactive level of monitoring. Make sure your home is protected: by FrontPoint, the #1 ranked alarm company in the US.