GPS Tracker Helps Police Arrest ATM Thief
When Daniel Runyan was busy breaking into establishments to rob ATM machines the last thing he was probably thinking a out was GPS tracking. Unfortunately for Runyan it was information provided via a GPS vehicle tracker that led to the criminal's downfall and why he will now spend the next four years inside of a jail cell.
In a Middlesex Superior courtroom Runyan admitted to his 2011 crimes of cracking into approximately thirty MetroWest ATM machines all throughout the state of Massachusetts. The 25-year-old man pleaded guilty after being indicted for 93 separate charges against him and a couple other accomplices. Authorities said that the men were single handedly responsible for stealing tens of thousands of dollars from the ATM machines. The police enforcement investigators also stated numerous surveillance video recordings captured a man operating a drill and wearing a mask while also communicating with an accomplice using a two-way headset microphone. This allowed police to determine rather quickly that it was the same crew involved in the crimes.
Throughout Massachusetts the three men robbed ATM machines in Concord, Ayer, Auburn, Groton, Lawrence and numerous other cities in the state. However, it was the quick thinking police department officials headquartered in Framingham that were instrumental in the apprehension of the trio. This is because Framingham police were the ones responsible of equipping a GPS tracker system upon the vehicle surveillance video showed being at the scene of one of the ATM robberies. The locational data gathered from the GPS vehicle tracker provided police the evidence needed to make an arrest. Thomas Coyne and Tim Page were the other men arrested for the ATM robberies and both men will face trial later this year for their involvement in the crimes.
Runyan, who has already pleaded guilty to his involvement in the crimes, will call a correction house home until 2017. After his four-year sentence is completed, Runyan will also be placed on probation for an additional five years.
GPS Tracking Laws Could Be Changing Soon
As soon as it appears there is a little clarity when it comes to law enforcement departments using GPS trackers to monitor potential "criminals" a curve ball comes out of left field that signals things may be changing yet again. For those who don't find GPS tracking technology news to be edge of your seat fun, the story starts out with police and government agencies using vehicle trackers to conduct surveillance on those they suspected were involved in a crime. Basically by attaching a small real-time tracker or data logger to the car of the suspect the police agency would have both a cost-effective and accurate way of determining where that suspect went. This helped lead to the arrest of thousands of criminals. The only problem was that it also just invaded the privacy rights of so many others not committing crimes. That left the practice of GPS tracking to be very controversial and it was only a matter of time before the highest courts in the nation reviewed the practice to see if it did indeed infringe on the Fourth Amendment rights of Americans. The Supreme Court voted 5-4 that rights were violated through the use of car tracking systems and that police and government agencies should first be required to obtain a warrant before using any GPS device for surveillance. With the landmark ruling it appeared as though the precedent was set and new guidelines would have to be adhered by, that is until the most recent news that the federal government may be considering passing legislation to allow for warrant-less GPS tracking.
According to a recent report first released by technology website Wired, the Obama administration believes that warrant-less GPS tracking is a practice that only helps catch bad guys. But then again why would an administration that supports drone surveillance and the attacking of Americans without due process really care if a few good guys have their constitutional rights violated?
The article states the Obama administration believing that the process of gathering a warrant can interfere and complicate the investigative process, and they have even went as far to suggest that stopping warrant-less GPS tracking would actually hurt the fight against terrorists. Maybe requiring a warrant and establishing probable cause before placing a GPS tracker on a automobile might result in a slightly slower (emphasis on slightly) investigative process, but at least it protects the innocent from having their rights violated. Because if 100 innocent people have to have their rights violated in order for one person to be arrested is that really justice?
The Obama administration goes on to say that since many of the cases do not involve hard-wiring of real-time GPS trackers to the target vehicle that they are not intrusive. This is because many tracking devices now come with surface magnets that make it easy to simply slap the tracker underneath the target vehicle. However, the fact that the attachment of the GPS tracker may not be intrusive does not change the obvious truth that without establishing any form of probable cause that the application of satellite technology is clearly infringing on the Fourth Amendment rights of any American being targeted. This method of surveillance creates an atmosphere where the government or police agencies can essentially take the law into their own hands regardless of what the Constitution states.
Most Americans want to give police every tool possible to be successful at reducing crime and eliminating deviant behavior, but this can be done without stepping all over the Constitution and our Fourth Amendment rights. By creating legislation that not only goes against a Supreme Court decision but also changes the way government and police authorities can track Americans is simply unacceptable. The Obama administration should be ashamed for even suggesting warrant-less GPS tracking is a positive thing.