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Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Police: Protect GPS Systems

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Westporters are not experiencing thefts of satellite global positioning systems in their cars yet, but police say motorists should protect them from potential thieves.

The systems that give motorists driving directions have been subjected to thefts in other areas of the country, but Sgt. Jerry Shannon, police public information officer, said Westport has not seen the systems as a target.

The systems—if they are an add-on feature mounted on the dashboard—would be a good target for thieves, though, because they are easy to grab and worth over $800, Shannon said.

“It’s a matter of time before we see the thefts,” he said. “People should put them out of sight if they are going to be away from their cars for any significant amount of time.”

Thefts are more prone to happen from vehicles parked in larger lots where they will be in one spot for a long time, like the train station, Shannon said.

Parker-Harding Plaza, he said, is not known for thefts because it is so busy.

There have been thefts of other car accessories in the past, including halogen headlights and airbags over the last five years, he said.

The halogen headlights are the most recent, he said, but there have not been nearly as many in the last few months than in previous months.

The airbag thefts—where entire dashboards were being stolen from cars—lasted about a year, Shannon said.

Thefts from cars as a whole, however, have been on the decline, he said.

“We mostly see it if a woman leaves a purse in plain view,” he said. “It’s a crime of opportunity.”

People should always keep valuable items—GPS systems included—out of view so the vehicle is not targeted for a theft.

Posted 05/23/06 at 09:00 AM

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