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A funny story in the local paper in January 2000 that I'd though I'd share with you. I wish I could've been there as a fly on the wall.

Bob Mitchell and Tracy Huffman - STAFF REPORTERS - Three teenagers are facing charges after the stolen car they were driving was stopped by satellite remote control on Islington Ave.

Provincial police were lying in wait as an alarm monitoring company used satellite technology to stop the wheels of the 1999 Chrysler Intrepid and the surprised occupants bailed out.

Police say Monday's incident is among the first cases in Greater Toronto where a stolen vehicle was stopped through the use of a computer tracking device inside the car.

Vehicle-tracking devices are commonly installed in luxury cars as well as rental vehicles, said Andrew Dolan, business manager of Bob Bannerman Dodge Jeep on Don Mills Rd.

``It's an alarm system and a tracking device at the same time,'' he said. ``When the car is stolen, the company notifies the customer through a pager system. Then the company will track (the car) via satellite because there is a chip in the
car.''

The remote control system can turn off the car's engines and lock the doors, trapping the thief in the vehicle. Police said the Intrepid, which had been stolen from a Thrifty Car and Truck Rental lot in Kitchener, was equipped with a Global Positioning System tracking device monitored by Navlynx Canada Inc.

The car was stolen around 2:15 p.m. and was seen travelling on Highway 401 toward Toronto, said Constable Lisa Anderson of the Port Credit detachment of the Ontario Provincial Police.

``As officers were getting into position to intercept the stolen vehicle, they received information updates (from the police dispatcher, in contact with the monitoring company) as to the exact speed of the vehicle, its exact location, how much gas was left in the fuel tank, even information as to which doors on the motor vehicle were locked or unlocked,'' Anderson said.

``Officers were also informed that there was no need to attempt to stop the vehicle because the monitoring company had the capabilities to disable the vehicle once it reached a safe location to do so.''

Police say the vehicle left Highway 401 and travelled south on Islington Ave. Navlynx disabled the vehicle as it came to a stop at the intersection of Islington Ave. and Norseman St., where officers moved in and nabbed the three teenagers as they ran from the disabled vehicle.

The security system, which can be used in any vehicle, costs about $400 CAD ($270 US) installed, and the customer pays a monthly fee of around $20 CAD ($13.25 US) , Dolan said.

``This kind of device could be the answer to many of our ills,'' said Ontario Provincial Police Superintendent Jay Hope, regional commander for Greater Toronto. ``This is the first time I know of a stolen car being stopped this way on our highways.

``Company officials said they've used it before in finding rental vehicles that have been stolen, but this is the first time it's ever been used for stolen vehicle being stopped by police and the occupants arrested.

``This technology would greatly assist all police officers in protecting all persons against property damage, serious injuries and deaths in relation to police pursuits.''

A 17-year-old youth was charged with theft over $5,000, possession over $5,000, dangerous operation of a moto vehicle, failure to comply with probation, breach of recognizance and driving a motor vehicle without a licence.

Also arrested and charged with possession over $5,000 was a 16 year-old and a 15-year-old. The 15-year-old is also charged with possession of a controlled substance.
The names of the youths are protected by the Young Offenders Act.

The Follow up interview with the guy who pushed the button:

Bob Mitchell - PEEL/HALTON BUREAU CHIEF - Frank Bunn gave the car thieves fair warning.

Using the voice-activated speaker phone system inside the stolen Chrysler Intrepid, the NavLynx Technologies vice-chairman told the three teenagers they were illegally driving the car and asked them to pull over.

But the youths didn't respond. Instead, they threw the phone out the window. They may have thought they were home free - but they were in for a huge surprise.

With a click of a computer mouse in a second-floor office near York University, Bunn disabled the vehicle when it stopped at the intersection of Islington Ave. and Norseman St. in Etobicoke Monday afternoon.

Less than an hour after the theft from the Kitchener-Waterloo-area Thrifty car rental agency, Ontario Provincial Police officers arrested the three teens.

``I wish I could have seen their faces,'' Bunn said. ``I'm sure they were pretty surprised.''

The arrest is believed to be the first time in Canada that a Global Positioning System (GPS) satellite tracking device was used to locate and stop a stolen car.

Police say the situation could have escalated into a dangerous high-speed pursuit through the city. At times, the car reached speeds of 160 km/h (100 mph) along Highway 401.

``It had all the elements, including a 17-year-old kid without a licence driving the stolen vehicle,'' said OPP Superintendent Jay Hope, regional commander for Greater Toronto.

The high-tech investigation began around 2 p.m. when a Thrifty employee asked NavLynx to track a stolen vehicle. Employing one of about a dozen GPS satellites that circle the Earth, the NavLynx computer located the stolen Intrepid through its hidden GPS device. From his Steeles Ave. W. office in Toronto, Bunn tracked the vehicle on Highway 8 near Kitchener.

``When it got on Highway 401 and started heading west, I contacted the vehicle,'' he said.

Bunn's disembodied voice likely startled the young thieves.

``They could hear me quite clearly,'' he said. ``I told them they were driving an unauthorized car and asked them to identify themselves and if they didn't, authorities would be sent.

``There was a hush. They didn't say a word.''

When they didn't answer, Bunn contacted the OPP and told them the car was on Highway 401. At Islington Ave., it headed south.

``When it stopped at the intersection at Norseman, we initiated our disabling feature,'' said NavLynx president Jeff Henry. Police made their arrests at about 2:45 p.m.

The Kitchener-Waterloo Thrifty agency has been using the device in several of its cars since November, 1998 as part of a pilot project for Toronto-based NavLynx.

In addition to being able to stop a vehicle, Hendry said they can lock and unlock doors and even raise and lower the windows. A 17-year-old youth, whose name is protected by the Young Offenders Act, faces numerous charges. They include theft over $5,000, possession over $5,000, dangerous operation of a motor vehicle, failure to comply with probation, breach of recognizance and driving a motor vehicle without a licence.
Police also arrested and charged a 16-year-old boy and a 15-year-old boy with possession over $5,000. The 15-year-old has also been charged with possession of a controlled substance.
 

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I've read quite a few similar stories involving cars equipped withg GM's OnStar system and also Lojack. These things are scary as hell (Big Brother sees you!!) but it is cool to know your car will be retrieved in one piece.

The last article I read was talking about how easy it is for cops to move in place using an unmarked car, radio the dispatcher who then kills the motor and they just grab the theives as they jump out of the car.

Effective but still pricey and controversial.
 

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Kind of related, saw in this months Motor Trend (or Car and Driver) where a guy rented a car, when he turned it in they hit him for 3 speeding violations. The GPS had recorded him speeding and buried in fine print in the contract it listed that they could bust him for it.

Scarry ****, if you ask me. I'm as big a tech head as anyone, but this big brother stuff worries me. I know alot of good comes from it ( some systems know if you're in a accident, will try to call you, dispatch police, know how many passengers are in the car, etc) but playing cat and mouse with the police is part of the joy of driving. (Although even with a detector, I was stopped 6 times last year.) Damn that instant on! Been luckier this year, only stopped once and he gave me a warning for good reaction time.

Dave
 

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Originally posted by champcar39:
Kind of related, saw in this months Motor Trend (or Car and Driver) where a guy rented a car, when he turned it in they hit him for 3 speeding violations. The GPS had recorded him speeding and buried in fine print in the contract it listed that they could bust him for it.
Dave
Fortunatelly this guy sued the car rental company and won. The judge ruled that the car rental company had no right to impose a fine! That right is reserved to law enforcement agencies only!
God bless America!
Have you hugged an american today?
 

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Could give new meaning to speed enforcement.

Imagine a trooper with his feet on the desk drinking a big gulg, watching a monitor and with a few mouse clicks, the tickets in the mail!


Dave
 

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isn't that what the majority of them already look like?
 

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Hey 01 Intrepid, what are "4 Parking Strobe lights?" I'm guessing they're not quite what they sound like, unless you're really into disco... while parking... uh, no.
 

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i know, just appeasing the stereotypes of the masses. :D
 
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