Stolen GPS's could lead thieves to your home

By Melissa Correa - bio | email
Posted by Terry Alexander - email

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - With turn-by-turn navigation, a good GPS can get you from being lost to found. But it could also help the very people who looking to rob you.

It tells you when to turn, and when you've gone too far. But the one thing police wish your GPS would tell you, remove when not in use.

"It's a popular crime because a lot of times, people make it easier for the criminals when they leave their vehicles unlocked and they leave valuables insight. It is the wrong this to do," said Chesterfield Police Officer Tim Lamb.

Chesterfield police say in 2008 from January 1 to July 31, 75 reports were made. This year, it's more than doubled to 165.

One of the reasons navigation devices are so popular is they can lead you home, but the FBI wants you to remember it can lead also lead burglars to your doorstep. In the last 2 years, the FBI reports GPS theft has grown by as much as 700 %.

"I did hear something about that. I just figure they could go in your car anyway and pull your registration and find out where you live," said resident Janet Collins.

When it comes to out-of-town trips, Collins swears by her GPS.

"It's usually pretty good, turn-by-turn," she said.

But she never keeps her navigator alone in the car. Resident Barry Bartle sings a different tune.

"Here lately, I usually just leave it sitting right here because everybody has one. Since I know this is going on, I'll stick it in the glove box or put it under my seat," said Barry.

Police say that's better, but removing all valuables is best. Also lock your car, park in well-lit areas and report all suspicious activity.

"The only thing the criminal needs is the opportunity and people are unfortunately giving them the opportunity by not securing their items and leaving their vehicles unlocked," said Tim Lamb.

Another tip: set your "home" address to a street near your neighborhood. That way you can always make it home, but thieves can never pinpoint your home.

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