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GPS Theft
What's that on your windshield?

 4:19 pm on Jun 26, 2008 (gmt 0)

I get a frantic call from my 8 year old daughter this morning...

"Daddy, [sniffle, sniffle], someone smashed Mommy's window and stole her Garmin."

My X, parks her new vehicle in an underground parking structure. It is a gated community. Apparently someone made the rounds early this morning and hit about 4-5 vehicles with their Garmins in plain view. A quick "tap" to that driver or passenger door window and they've got immediate access.

How much time would it take a person to first canvas the area, and then second, to hit those cars in sequence and make off with the goods? I figure about 10-15 minutes maximum. The process of theft about a minute. You've got to get out of there when those car alarms start going off. Someone is going to wake up and come down.

Isn't that like leaving your keys in the ignition?

Be careful out there. When you park your vehicle anywhere, either remove your valuables or place them out of sight of would be thieves. I did a bit of research when I got back home after dropping my daughter off at school. They say that leaving Portable GPS, Radar Detectors, iPods, etc. in plain view, make criminals. :o



 4:21 pm on Jun 26, 2008 (gmt 0)

Also leaving a mark on the windscreen where the suction pad was attached is a dead giveaway.


 4:26 pm on Jun 26, 2008 (gmt 0)

true, but not nearly as enticing as leaving the actual equipment sitting there.

I always have a radar detector in my car. When I pull up somewhere, I pull the detector down, but leave the mount on the windshield.

In 15 years, I've never had an issue. My wife just had the detector stolen out of her car a few months back because she always leaves it on the windshield (and turned on...nice bright beacon in the night).

Thieves generally look for the surest thing and easiest target. Leaving any type of super portable electronics just sitting on a windshield is asking for trouble.


 4:26 pm on Jun 26, 2008 (gmt 0)

I always take my GPS with me when I park my car and leave it. I wouldn't leave anything valuable in the car, as if someone steals your car, your valuables will be gone too!


 4:35 pm on Jun 26, 2008 (gmt 0)

Depending on how easy it is to detach, leaving the windows down on your car or your doors unlocked while being away for just a few minutes (like going into the gas station to pay for a fill-up) is also an open invitation for theft. Not just a GPS, but an iPod or cell phone or any other tempting device attached to the dashboard or sitting on the car seat. Or that nice laptop (with 25,000 credit card numbers...) sitting on the passenger seat.

Similarly, I uses a GPS on my bicycle. Whereas I dare to leave my bike unattended for a few minutes while I duck into a public bathroom or a grocery or convenience store (assuming I can keep eyes on the bike most of the time), I will usually unclick the GPS and slip it in my back pocket.

It's just too easy to walk bike and slip the GPS off without breaking stride or attracting attention.

But I don't always do it. And this thread has made me decide that I WILL always do it from now on.

[edited by: LifeinAsia at 4:40 pm (utc) on June 26, 2008]


 4:43 pm on Jun 26, 2008 (gmt 0)

Funny how we can use a GPS to track our location but we can't use it to find itself! Why isn't it sending out a beacon right now? What's up with that Garmin? Huh? Huh? We need a GPSJack.


 4:51 pm on Jun 26, 2008 (gmt 0)

Not a gps theft but... We live in 'safe' neighborhood, and never had any problems, but couple of months ago our car got broken into - thief smashed pass side window and took small but empty wicker looking bag ($2 at Target) - I guess it didn't look empty from outside. My wife uses that bag for baby stuff (extra dipers, etc.). Car was parked in our driveway right below our bedroom window. Alarm woke me up, it was around 5 am, but ofcourse I thought it was someone else's car. After a minute I got up, ran outside but it was too late....Turns out that few other cars got broken into as well.

Cops comment was that we should not leave things in the car in the plain sight. Ofcourse I knew that but never thought that it would happen in our own driveway....


 5:01 pm on Jun 26, 2008 (gmt 0)

There's even a worse case. People storing their home address in the GPS. Thief then goes to house and steals stuff, big chance no-ones home.


 5:09 pm on Jun 26, 2008 (gmt 0)

There's even a worse case. People storing their home address in the GPS.

Doh! I hadn't even thought of that!

Goes to clear addresses...

Ya see what these discussions do? ;)

<added> Oh wait, they'd have to rip mine out of the dashboard, its factory. Or worse yet, just take the vehicle. :(


 5:49 pm on Jun 26, 2008 (gmt 0)

>People storing their home address in the GPS

Yeah, we set our home address on the factory-fitted sat navs to another house some way along the street. Even if the car's stolen, it'll take them some wasted time, and they might even give up.
I have a plan to call the cops and tell them to wait for our car turning up at the alternate address. lol


 11:29 pm on Jun 26, 2008 (gmt 0)

The prices on these things have really dropped. Thieves must work on high volume.


 11:31 pm on Jun 26, 2008 (gmt 0)

Why isn't it sending out a beacon right now?

Anyone know a valid reason why the GPS unit cannot phone home? Its registered right? When you first turn it on, it needs to calculate your position, right? Isn't there some sort of registration and confirmation process?


 11:38 pm on Jun 26, 2008 (gmt 0)

AFAIK GPS units are just passive, "read-only" devices. They "read" the signals constantly being sent out by the GPS satellites. They don't have any reason to send out a signal. Basically like a portable radio.


 11:58 pm on Jun 26, 2008 (gmt 0)

Well then, Garmin Executives, are you reading? I see a Feature Request at the top of the list right now. The ability to phone home, can you make it so?

Wouldn't that be brilliant? Hehehe, I can imagine the first round of thefts after the feature is released and the dingbats didn't know about it. So, there they are with all their loot, they've got a bag full of Garmins, Radar Detectors, iPods, Cell Phones, you name it.

They are gathered around the campfire. All of a sudden, the bag with the Garmins starts lighting up. Hey, what's up with that? Fifteen Garmins just phoned home and the police units have triangulated your location and are in route. One moment please...

Oh, I can't wait!

"Yo dude, what are you in for?"

The stories they will be able to share and laugh at...

"I'm a Gar Thief, you too?"


 3:39 am on Jun 27, 2008 (gmt 0)

Why isn't it sending out a beacon right now?

Anyone know a valid reason why the GPS unit cannot phone home? Its registered right? When you first turn it on, it needs to calculate your position, right? Isn't there some sort of registration and confirmation process?

Most GPS units are just receivers - they just receive signals and do not transmit them. There are systems (not just pure GPS units) on the market that have ability to send signals as well - like Northstar.

It would be nice if WiFi was everywhere for networked rx/tx, or better utilization of cellular (mobile) frequencies...


 3:55 am on Jun 27, 2008 (gmt 0)

OMG...this topic says much about how far removed some people are about the world...

Good luck with your "issue"!


[edited by: BaseVinyl at 3:55 am (utc) on June 27, 2008]


 4:11 am on Jun 27, 2008 (gmt 0)

>> People storing their home address in the GPS.

Not sure about you, but I have my car insurance and registration in the car at all times. If they really wanted your address there are much easier ways of obtaining it.

As for car theft...I deal and listen to the police all the time as a fire fighter. Most of car theft isn't even "breaking" into the car, but rather testing to see if the doors are left unlocked. I know it seems like an elementary thing to do -- lock your car -- but there are tons of people out there that can't even do that. The hot ticket items are cell phones, iPods, and GPS units. These three items are the most commonly stolen in this manner, and are easily pawned off.

>> Why isn't it sending out a beacon right now?

The key is not getting it stolen in the first place. ;) In any case, the police have a pretty good idea of where they might be able to find an item once it is stolen. Thieves don't like to hold onto stolen merchandise too long and pawn shops are great ways of getting rid of stuff. Odds are you'll be able to find your stolen goods at a pawn shop somewhat in your area if there is one. These types of places are also where the police find the suspect's identity as cameras are usually present at the store.


 7:55 am on Jun 27, 2008 (gmt 0)

pawn shops are great ways of getting rid of stuff.

Dude, how much you gimme for 157 Garmins?

157? Are they stolen?

Course not.

OK, how 'bout six bucks apiece?

Just six bucks?!

Yesterday it was twenty, but you're the third person today with a sack full of Garmins.

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