Home builder uses GPS to track stolen equipment; 3 thieves arrested

By  | 

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. -- Three thieves are behind bars for stealing expensive equipment off construction sites in Springfield. This-- after a home builder started helping police... help him.

Springfield police worked 20-thousand property crime cases last year. Many of them are from construction sites, where equipment seems to disappear when no one is around. Most of these cases are very difficult to solve.

So builder Jake Crutcher got fed up with the loss of his livelihood, and decided to take matters into his own hands.

Crutcher was able to help recover tens of thousands of dollars worth of equipment. He invested in GPS tracking devices, which are about the size of a half-dollar, and he put them on most all of his equipment. In the last six months since he's been doing this-- he's recovered all his stolen property-- and led police right to the thieves front doors.

"Three of those people have now been caught red-handed, so whenever they steal something, an alert goes off on my smartphone and says hey, the device is in movement and so it tracks it just like it would in Google maps, and so just like when you pull up the destination on Google maps, and it shows you where you are in your car-- it's the same thing with the tracking device and so we're able to go right to the equipment or trailer and get it back," Crutcher said.

It cost him a couple hundred bucks to buy all the GPS devices initially, but he's recovered tens of thousands dollars worth of his stolen property. He says considering his ability to work everyday depends on that equipment-- it was a, relatively speaking, small price to pay.

Police say they wish everyone could do this, or at the least, write down your serial numbers to help the thefts cases more solvable.