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Stockpile of stolen cars recovered using GPS tracking

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WEST VALLEY CITY — For the second day in a row, police have followed and recovered stolen vehicles with the help of real-time GPS tracking devices.

“Tracking a stolen vehicle with one of them isn’t that common,” said Roxeanne Vainuku, spokesperson for West Valley City Police. “We actually wouldn’t mind if it were more common because it makes it faster and easier to find them.”

Around 4 a.m. Thursday, Sergio Rosales and his wife woke up to check on the weather.

“She looked outside my house and she said, ‘Somebody is stealing your truck!’” Rosales said.

He first checked his home’s security cameras, which showed someone driving away in his truck earlier in the night. He then used the GPS tracking application on his phone to discover the exact location of the stolen truck.

Rosales called police and met up with them at the address where the truck was parked.

“In addition to recovering the stolen vehicle, which the owner had tracked to that location, we also recovered two more stolen vehicles and two stolen motorcycles,” Vainuku said.

The technology isn’t new. Cars can come from the factory already equipped with GPS tracking systems or the owner, or even a financial institution, can install the devices afterward, according to Vainuku.

On Wednesday, police officers in West Valley responded to another case of a stolen truck that was being tracked by the owner.

The case originated in Salt Lake City where the driver allegedly rammed an officer’s car and sped away.

We want you to exercise caution and to really protect yourself above all else.

–Roxeanne Vainuku. West Valley City Police Department

Because of public safety concerns, police didn’t initiate a pursuit. However, the GPS system allowed them to keep track of the truck’s location until officers in West Valley could spike the tires and arrest the driver.

While law enforcement welcomes the technology, they just warn to never go after a stolen car on your own.

“Even if you have the ability to real-time track your car and see where it’s going in a stolen car situation, we want you to exercise caution and to really protect yourself above all else,” Vainuku said. “Let police do the police work. We’re happy to take that evidence and work with it.”

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Ladd Egan


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