Burglary 101 — When trying to steal hi-tech gadgets, probably best to ensure they’re not equipped with trackers. Therefore, it’s probably best to avoid stealing GPS trackers altogether. Far too risky. One should examine the box of the electronic device being poached thoroughly before getting too excited and deciding to load up on a hundred or so of them and sneak out the door only to be caught just a few hours later.
Recently, two thieves were caught stealing thousands of dollars, nearly $18,000 worth to be exact, of GPS tracking devices from the Santa Clara company, Roambee Corporation. “These devices kind of look like cell phone chargers, so they probably thought they had some kind of street value,” Roambee Corporation Co-Founder Vidya Subramanian said of the devices stolen from the company’s Dela Cruz Avenue labs. It’s likely the thieves didn’t realize they are making away with trackable loot.
“The moment we realized they had a box of trackers, we went into recovery mode,” Subramanian added. “We notified the police and equipped them to track the devices, and in about five or six hours, it was done.”
The sly thieves also decided to take a moment to grab a beer from the company’s fridge before heading out. It’s a tough job, after all. Too bad for them, the decision led to one of the con artists cutting himself and leaving bloody fingerprints police later used as evidence.
Once police got involved, it wasn’t long before they were using Roambee’s own software to locate the perpetrators and the missing devices, usually used to track shipments of bananas and other commercial shipments, rather than criminal activity. The company’s innovative pay-as-you-go service gives companies the real-time data required to manage shipments in transit and assets in the field.
“We were able to pinpoint the location of these trackers to a warehouse in Union City and two of the devices had gone mobile, and the thieves were driving around with them in the East Bay,” Subramanian said.
Two men were arrested and taken into custody in Alameda. Police found a storage locker full of the stolen loot, in addition to illegal drugs and other stolen property.
The stunt may inadvertently prove to be a good business move for Roambee. It’s increased consumer awareness and appreciation for Roambee’s products, helping to boost the company’s bottom line. “What this has done is show our customers that our product not only works, but it goes into full recovery mode where we can actually show the end result for a roaming perspective,” Subramanian said. “It was picture perfect. This is what we’ve been gearing up to do, and we were ready for it and we executed.” He and his colleagues are just happy the stolen property was recovered and is back in safe keeping.
The wealth of stolen property and drugs discovered along with the tracking devices in the storage locker, including a photo album later found with irreplaceable images from World War II taken in a recent burglary in Saratoga, led investigators to believe the suspects were tied to other serious crimes. The extent of these crimes and their involvement is still under investigation. In the meantime, the two convicts are off the streets — and also in safe keeping.