Theft of GPS Tracking Devices Backfires Spectacularly

Burglar's attempt to steal a beer also went wrong
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 15, 2017 2:07 AM CDT

(Newser) – It's only June, but a crook in California may already have a lock on the Dumbest Criminal of 2017 award. Authorities had little trouble tracking the thief down after he stole 100 GPS trackers along with other items from the Santa Clara offices of tech firm Roambee, NBC4 reports. The company's devices help producers track goods as they are shipped around the world. "The moment we realized they had a box of trackers, we went into recovery mode," says company co-founder Vidya Subramanian. "We notified the police and equipped them to track the devices, and in about five or six hours, it was done."

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The thief, who apparently thought the devices were cell phone chargers that could be resold, also managed to cut himself while taking a beer from the fridge during the burglary, leaving DNA evidence behind on a napkin he used to soak up the blood. Police say that when they arrested the suspect, they recovered Roambee's goods along with other stolen property, including an album of World War II photos stolen from a veteran's son in a break-in earlier this year, the Mercury News reports. Police say they were so impressed with the devices—which transmit their locations within 30 feet every 60 seconds when in recovery mode—that they are looking at ways of working with Roambee in the future. (Read more GPS stories.)

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