Thieves Busted By GPS-Enabled Booty

Three people were arrested and charged after police tracked them back to stolen cell phones.

January 23, 2007

1 Min Read
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It didn't take much for police to track down 14 cell phones stolen from a town's public works department on Long Island.

The Town of Babylon had used the phones as GPS (global positioning system) devices for its trucks. The same technology led police right to the home of the suspects about a half-mile from where the phones were stolen, according to Babylon Department of Public Works Commissioner Phil Berdolt. The devices went missing last week.

"A few drivers came and said, 'The GPS isn't in the truck," Berdolt says. "That's when we realized they were stolen. We figured out which ones were taken, fire them up on the screen and three were active. The other ones, we did a bread-crumb trail report on."

All three phones were in the same area, Berdolt says, and his department reported their location to the police. One phone had stopped at three locations in less than two hours, he says.

"It turned out that one of the locations was the guy's girlfriend's house and the other was an accomplice's house," Berdolt says.The public works department paid about $50 per phone, but they can run as high as $159, without discounts offered with service plans, he says. Though the department had not activated the phones for making telephone calls, one of the perpetrators had replaced the SIM card and was making calls, Berdolt says.

"That doesn't disable the GPS," he says.

The Suffolk County Police Department arrested three people in the case and charged them with possession of stolen property and grand larceny.

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