That incident was not the first time a suspected stolen vehicle had been recovered using the satellite-based technology. Wednesday, investigators with the Bartow County Sheriff's Office were able to recover a vehicle that had been taken to Florida.
"[The car] was bought at one of those 'pay here, buy here'-type of places where you pay on a weekly basis and the dealership installs GPS on all their cars so if a customer doesn't pay for it, they can find it," BCSO Investigator Lamar Deems said. "The dealership called and said the car was stationary and it showed which street it was on, which house and even that the car was parked under a shed in Arcadia, Fla."
Both vehicles were recovered without further incident and the sheriff's office recommends installing GPS tools if they can be afforded by the owners.
"That's the easiest way to find the vehicle," Deems said. "It can be tracked."
Investigator Sgt. Jonathan Rogers agrees, noting that certain companies, however, must be notified of the theft before the service will be activated.
"I know there's LoJack and OnStar," Rogers said. "They can track and activate it once the company is notified that the car is stolen."
Rogers also noted, though, that the tracking technology is used by more than just vehicle dealerships.
"One of the banks uses GPS instead of a dye pack," Rogers said. "They have a tracking pack and as soon as there's a bank robbery they put that in and track it. The technology is already in use by banks, dealerships and heavy equipment. I know of the Progressive insurance company where they monitor how you drive, how fast you've been -- that's all GPS. It's the same satellite. Computers can have a tracking device and phones can too."
For those who do not have GPS devices, the BCSO recommends following a few tips that could help avoid auto thefts. Keeping doors locked and secured in a carport could deter theft. While Deems said there are few true vehicle thefts in the county, "a little common sense" can prevent crime, but "if somebody wants it, they're gonna get it."