GPS Units A Hot Holiday Target For Green Country Thieves

Tuesday, November 23rd 2010, 9:10 pm
By: News On 6

Lori Fullbright, News On 6

TULSA, Oklahoma -- More than nine million GPS units were sold last year and merchants expect to sell even more this year.

While they are at the top of many wish lists this Christmas, Tulsa Police say these units are also on the top of the list for thieves.

Burglary detectives say that a GPS unit stuck to your windshield is the same as putting a giant neon sign over your car that says steal me. That's why they recommend you take it out every time you get out of the car, even if you're just running into a convenience store for 30 seconds.

All told, Amber is out $2,800 dollars, between repairing the damage thieves did to her car and counting up all they stole.

"They got two of my motorcycle jackets, got my friend's purse, her keys, my GPS, and my radar and my iPod," she said.

More than 300 cars get broken into every month in Tulsa. GPS units are extremely visible and popular, but since officers don't respond to these crimes anymore, a lot of people don't even bother to fill out a citizen report.

"Absolutely, report it. Please, report it," Tulsa Police Sergeant Brandon Watkins said. "Write down the serial numbers. Every GPS has a serial number and if you don't want to put your home address in it, put somewhere close."

That'll make it easier to get back to you if it's found. Police say the vast majority of thieves want to steal them to hock rather than for the information that's inside them.

Hotel parking lots are big targets right now so News On 6 crime reporter Lori Fullbright drove through one and sure enough, found a GPS unit on a windshield.

Just then, the owners came outside. They were from Mississippi visiting family here for Thanksgiving.

"Yes, we were going to take in the GPS, the cameras, anything that might tempt somebody," Jody and Melinda Butler said.

As people get ready to do a lot of shopping this weekend, it's important to remember not to leave anything visible in your car, like tools, golf clubs, purses, and phones. Few things will ruin your day faster than dealing with a costly break-in.