According to this Dakota County Criminal Complaint (and this one), two women broke into several vehicles located in the Heart of the City parking ramp and stole items including a government vehicle intended for use by the Marine Corps Recruiting Center. Using a GPS tracking device on the US Government vehicle, the thieves were tracked down in short order and arrested.
From the complaint:
On October 1, 2012, the Burnsville Police Department was called to the Heart of the City parking ramp located at 12700 Nicollet Ave South in the City of Burnsville, Dakota County, Minnesota, on a report of thefts and damage to vehicles and theft of a vehicle. The responding officers spoke with R.D., an employee at the Marine Corps Recruiting Center, who reported that a 2010 Chevrolet Malibu belonging to the U.S. Government had been stolen from the ramp. Officers also took reports from four other individuals who were reporting damage and / or thefts from their vehicles parked in the same ramp. These reports are as follows:
B.E. – Reported that two windows had been broken on his work vehicle also belonging to the U.S. Government. B.E. subsequently discovered that a gas card was missing from his vehicle.
A.A. – Reported numerous items stolen from his vehicle, including a compound bow, a 32-inch television, DVD player, Vexilar fishing system.
D.F. – Reported a bag, a multi-tool, and a phone charger was missing from her vehicle.
N.S. – Reported that a window was broken on her vehicle. N.S. subsequently discovered that her husband’s gym bag had been stolen from the vehicle.
R.D. informed the officers that the stolen Malibu was equipped with a GPS system and provided that tracking information to the officers who aired that information to other departments. A short time later the vehicle was located in the City of Fridley. The Fridley police officer observed two females park the vehicle at an apartment complex in Fridley and arrested the two females as they were getting out of the vehicle.
The government license plates that were on the vehicle had been removed and replaced with license plates stolen off of a vehicle belonging to D.V. D.V.’s vehicle had been parked in an apartment complex parking ramp located at 301 McAndrews Road in the City of Burnsville. Officers also learned of the following other thefts and damage that occurred about the same time in the ramp on McAndrews Road:
G.B. – Reported that a window on his vehicle had been broken and a set of keys for a storage locker were stolen from the vehicle.
A.G. – Reported that a window had been broken on his vehicle but nothing had been stolen.
S.S. – Reported that a window had been broken on h9s (sic) vehicle but nothing had been stolen.
The total damage to the eight vehicles that were broken into is over $1,000.00. The total value of all of the items stolen from the eight other vehicles also exceeds $1,000.00
Now, thieves are never smart but what possible reason could you think up which would make even the dumbest criminal steal a government-owned vehicle? If they’re smart enough to change the plates, why not be smart enough to not leave that vehicle alone in the first place? Are Malibus really that easy to steal that it was worth the risk?
Knowing how quickly the government vehicle was recovered with the GPS, do you think it had more to do with the GPS being available or the fact it was a government-owned car? Do you have GPS-tracking enabled in your car (assuming most often through On-Star) or does the potential for abuse by third parties outweigh its usefulness considering how few cars are stolen?