Police warn of GPS thefts

February 7, 2008 5:11:12 PM PST
Remember the signs people once put in car windows that said "no radio" or "radio broken"?Now, you need a new sign - for your GPS system.

Police say thieves are taking the global positioning systems in alarming numbers. So what should you do?

Long Island reporter Emily Smith has more.

Drive through any parking lot, and chances are you'll notice GPS systems in plain sight inside people's unattended cars.

"It's great," one GPS owner said. "I don't get lost or anything."

"It's a new toy, so everyone's getting them now," another said.

Everyone, that is, including thieves. And cops say since criminals are canvassing parking lots looking for the items, they are doing it now too.

"They're are leaving notices on windshields where they see these devices still on display," Detective Sergeant Tony Repalone said.

That's because new crime figures show a dramatic increase in GPS thefts. In January of 2008, police say 211 GPS systems had been reported stolen.

For the same month the year before, it was 44.

People like Joe Leonardi are a prime target. He thinks he does the right thing by taking his GPS off the holder and throwing it in his glove box.

"I figured maybe if I took it off they might think it's not in there, and not even attempt to break in," he said. "I'm just lazy. I should take it off the window."

It is quite a process, but police say you should take the GPS with you. Then take the holder off the window and wipe away the suction cup mark left behind. Police say the mark is just another clue you have one in your car.

If your GPS is really not in the car, because you're like Catherine Campbell and take it out when you go to shop or work, then the thieves lose. But even Cambell is not in the clear. She, too, leaves the bracket behind. At the very least, it makes her next problem a potential broken windshield.