Whoever said that crime doesn’t pay couldn’t even have imagined the impact that modern day GPS tracking technology would have on potential thieves.
Last Tuesday, three women from the Tampa Bay area of Florida were arrested on felony theft charges after allegedly shoplifting over $2500 in merchandies that was tagged with hidden GPS tracking devices.
The GPS tagged merchandise was taken from the Saks Off Fifth store at the Tampa Premium Outlets and led local police directly to the three women. Police were able to stop the women in their car with the stolen merchandise after Saks employees tracked their location in real time using the GPS technology.
Store surveillance video also shows two of the women putting clothing into a “booster bag” that was used to get the merchandise out of the store without setting off electronic sensor alarms. However, a pair of jeans that the women took had a hidden GPS tracking device inside that started to track their location as soon as they left the store.
Police found garbage bags full of stolen Saks merchandise inside the car the women were driving. Toccara Marlesha, Ayanna Michelle Palacio, and Sharhonda LaShawn Pedroso have all been arrested and are now facing multiple felony charges for shoplifting.
Some customers were amazed to find out that GPS tracking technology was being used on merchandise to catch shoplifters, but most supported the use of this new anti-theft system. Some people said if the GPS tracking is able to find and catch shoplifters, it should be put on all merchandise.
Needless to say, the three alleged shoplifters were also shocked to learn that they had been tracked and caught by a pair of GPS tagged blue jeans.
So far, these retail tracking devices aren’t being put in everything. However, as this technology becomes smaller and less expensive, it will be used to track more products and people.
While miniaturized GPS technology could save businesses billions of dollars a year in theft and losses, it could also be used to track honest customers who buy things and leave the store with the devices still active. Imagine purchasing something at a retail store only to discover later that the item had an active GPS tracking device hidden inside that was recording your locations.
Talk about “buyers remorse.”