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GPS Devices Lead Authorities to Thieves' Home

Zonk posted more than 7 years ago | from the please-put-the-stolen-locatermabob-down dept.

It's funny.  Laugh. 124

Radon360 writes "A trio of not-so-bright thieves in Lindenhurst, NY stole 14 GPS position reporting devices used on public works equipment from a nearby township garage. Authorities didn't have to look too far to locate him or the devices, as one of them was still active and indicated the location of his home when it was queried. From the article: 'Town officials said the thieves didn't even know what they had: they thought the GPS devices were cell phones, which they planned to sell.'"

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124 comments

Subject (-1, Redundant)

Legion303 (97901) | more than 7 years ago | (#17692818)

Smooth.

Re:Subject (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17692996)

And so totally pwned.

Re:Subject (4, Funny)

theshowmecanuck (703852) | more than 7 years ago | (#17693000)

Like diarrhoea.

ahh yes... (4, Interesting)

Bananatree3 (872975) | more than 7 years ago | (#17692850)

how sweet, the ignorance of youth. They're almost begging for police to come get them. Kind of like the dimwhit students who posted their vandalizing a school on youtube [slashdot.org] for the whole world, including police to see.

Re:ahh yes... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17692888)

how sweet, the ignorance of youth


Yes, those youngster never know about tech like GPS. It's nice that we old beards here on Slashdot are much smarter.

Re:ahh yes... (4, Funny)

rob1980 (941751) | more than 7 years ago | (#17693188)

Those whippersnappers wouldn't know a GPS from the GPL. In my day when we wanted to code we had to walk uphill both ways through six feet of snow to get to the computer science building on campus. These damn kids. Get off my lawn!

Re:ahh yes... (4, Funny)

JustOK (667959) | more than 7 years ago | (#17693406)

You had buildings that you went to? We had to build new buildings out of punch cards EVERY DAY.

Re:ahh yes... (4, Funny)

uglyduckling (103926) | more than 7 years ago | (#17693440)

Punch cards? We had to strip bark from the trees, make out own paper then punch it with our teeth before we could even begin to make the punch cards into a building.

Re:ahh yes... (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17693458)

Trees? You were lucky.

we had to create DNA one strand at a time from single atoms by hand and then wait 60 million years for it to evolve into trees.

Re:ahh yes... (1)

dgatwood (11270) | more than 7 years ago | (#17695596)

You A.C. kids and kids with high user IDs.... In my day, we had to create the quarks and anti-quarks that make up the hadrons that form the neutrons of those atoms that you little monsters had handed to you. You'll never really appreciate the universe until you learn how to make a quark.

When I was a kid, we had to read the story of God creating the first quark. He called the first electron Adam and the first positron Eve. When those two got together, paradise was destroyed, and darn if scientists didn't end up calling it the Big Bang.... You kids and your pornography and your dirty jokes.... You'll never be half the engineer that He was. Get out of my roses, stupid kids!

:-D

Back on topic, it occurred to me that even if these had been cell phones, they still could have tracked them down with basic tower triangulation. Remember, kids, if you're going to steal something electronic, TURN IT OFF FIRST.

Dumbasses. Get off my begonias!

Re:ahh yes... (1)

Kozz (7764) | more than 7 years ago | (#17694050)

Oh, aye. And you try and tell the young people of today that, and they won't believe you!

Re:ahh yes... (1)

3rd_Floo (443611) | more than 7 years ago | (#17694134)

You would first have to explain to them what a punch card is, and why we ever used one. After that you might have to wait for the laughter and shock to die down.

Re:ahh yes... (1)

that this is not und (1026860) | more than 7 years ago | (#17694130)

I liked punched cards when I was taking programming courses in college. Because one of the first cards on each submitted deck was a card with the user's password on it. And because the high speed card reader would often mangle the first few cards on the deck, usually including this card.

The procedure was:

Wait until later in the day when the batch card reader/printer was empty.

Fish all mangled cards out of the wastebaskets.

Sort through and retain password cards.

Translate punched holes on PW cards into passwords.

Use up account time left on said accounts.

Them were the days...

Re:ahh yes... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17693236)

The main culprit never got punished, he did the crime and had the video posted just before he moved to Canada. That's not the mark of a dim wit.

Let me get this straight (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17692866)

So if the thieves had stolen one less GPS tracking device (as only the one was still on and functioning), the headline would have read:
"Idiot Thieves Somehow Manage to Make Off With Armloads of Location Trackers"?

Re:Let me get this straight (1)

bh_doc (930270) | more than 7 years ago | (#17693056)

Perhaps, only if they somehow managed to leave the one that was activated and not any of the others stolen, be that by good judgement or, more likely, luck.

It just goes to show... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17695730)

...stupid people are dangerous.

Re:Let me get this straight (1)

Joebert (946227) | more than 7 years ago | (#17695866)

Close, "Cringely predicts stolen GPS units will turn up".

So what if they were cell phones? (1)

Schraegstrichpunkt (931443) | more than 7 years ago | (#17692884)

Town officials said the thieves didn't even know what they had: they thought the GPS devices were cell phones, which they planned to sell.

Don't a lot of cell phones also report on your location via AGPS?

Re:So what if they were cell phones? (2, Insightful)

ForestGrump (644805) | more than 7 years ago | (#17692890)

I think they only do it when in dire need of your coordinates (like when you call 911). Otherwise, it's probably a waste of resources (computing power/network data). After all, how much does the cell phone cost? free w/signing your soul away for 2 years right?

Grump.

Re:So what if they were cell phones? (2, Informative)

Schraegstrichpunkt (931443) | more than 7 years ago | (#17693050)

I think they only do it when in dire need of your coordinates (like when you call 911).

My (CDMA 2000) phone has an option to restrict the GPS reporting to 911 calls only, but it's not the default.

Otherwise, it's probably a waste of resources (computing power/network data).

It wouldn't be that bad. The phone already has to periodically allocate a channel in order report its presence to the base station. Tacking on a few extra bits (probably only when requested by the base station) isn't going to be that much overhead.

As for computing power on the phones, these things can run reasonably complex audio codecs in real time during a voice call. That's a lot of spare CPU power when the phone is on the hook.

Re:So what if they were cell phones? (4, Informative)

ForestGrump (644805) | more than 7 years ago | (#17693118)

The phone has a GPS receiver, but it's primarily designed to take a "snapshot" of the satellites and send that off to an assisting server for the actual number crunching. I'm pretty sure these assisting servers aren't cheap and the phone company wouldn't spend money buying these servers if they could sell you a new phone instead.

Now, if you implanted one of these phones in your baby called 911 saying I LOST MY BABY! Then I'm sure they wouldn't hesitate to use the gps on the phone to locate the baby.*

But what do I know, it was my roommate who worked in a cell phone shop. I worked on emergency dispatch equipment instead.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Assisted_GPS [wikipedia.org]

Grump

*If child protective services comes after you, I didn't seed the idea!

Mmmm...makes you think... (1)

Poingggg (103097) | more than 7 years ago | (#17693590)

Now, if you implanted one of these phones in your baby called 911 saying I LOST MY BABY! Then I'm sure they wouldn't hesitate to use the gps on the phone to locate the baby.*

Some people have weird ideas!

Re:So what if they were cell phones? (1)

Peet42 (904274) | more than 7 years ago | (#17693632)

I am not an expert, but I was led to believe that US cellphones have a GPS receiver chip that outputs a string of numbers, and these numbers are incorporated in the "header" every time it talks to a cell tower. The "authorities" can use these at any time to locate where the 'phone is reporting itself to be.

Re:So what if they were cell phones? (2, Insightful)

C_L_Lk (1049846) | more than 7 years ago | (#17694670)

This often makes me wonder how often the GPS receiver in my cell phone is actually working. I have both a Garmin and a Magellan hand-held receiver, each which cost several hundred $, and neither of them pick up any useful signal or work even 10% of the time anywhere indoors, in my vehicle while I drive, or even when I'm under moderate to heavy tree cover or building cover. They stick themselves in "acquiring signal mode" until they return to a relatively clear view of the sky to get signal from at least 3 satellites. My mobile on the other hand, cost $99, has a camera, MP3 player, bluetooth, cell capabilities obviously, and probably several other features I don't know of (Moto e815) as well as this "GPS" feature, so the GPS cant exactly be state of the art or top of the line. I would have to think that 80 to 90 percent of the time, if not more, the phone cannot be getting any sort of meaningful GPS data - so in reality, unless I'm standing out in the open, with a clear view of the sky, with few buildings around, etc. - the GPS isn't actually doing a thing other than perhaps wasting some of my battery life trying to acquire a signal from a few satellites. I have a feeling if I call 911 with it, I'll still be telling them my location the old fashioned way - especially since the cellular tower nearest my location is a good 10 km away and covers an area probably close to 200 sq. km - that sure narrows things down for the emergency crews. Wasted feature if you ask me.

Re:So what if they were cell phones? (1)

topham (32406) | more than 7 years ago | (#17695138)


Your typical GPS has problems aquiring signals because it has to work out the following: The precise time, the likely location. It needs both of these to being able to even start getting a fix. This is why your typical GPS takes a lot longer to get a fix when it has been off for an extended period of time, or has moved a considerable distance when not in use. Garmin quotes 500 Miles for instance. Ephemeris data is collected by your GPS over a period of time and is used to cutdown on the amount of time it takes to get a lock. It uses this to predict which GPS satellites would be overhead based on an approximate location and can then more efficiently sample the correct frequencies.

A cellphone GPS can get a very accurate timefix from the cell tower, as well it can get an approximate location from the tower, the current up to date ephemeris data (which your GPS takes 4hrs or more to receive, but it can receive much more quickly).

Take all this, combine it with an aggressive filter (since you already know 99.99% of where you aren't, and what time it isn't) and you can get some level of signal better than the average GPS unit.

But if you look into the current line of GPS units from Garmin you'll find they are using SiRFII chipset which locks on to signals that prior Garmin units had significant issues with. (It seems to have a much larger error, but still gets a signal lock.)

Now if I could just find out how to take advantage of the GPS in my Razr 3c. :(

Re:So what if they were cell phones? (1)

Peet42 (904274) | more than 7 years ago | (#17695564)

The Garmin will have a CPU, database of landmarks and roads etc., while the 'phone will just have the "front end" chip that spews out some raw numbers. Just sending those numbers in a "header" puts little or no extra load on the system, since you don't actually need to process them unless you're actively tracking the 'phone.

Re:So what if they were cell phones? (1)

pruss (246395) | more than 7 years ago | (#17694762)

Since GPS software for Sprint cellphones costs as little as $20, and gives you an unlimited number of fixes with no monthly fee for GPS use, the load on the servers can't be very high.

Frankly, I think cell phone companies should be, but probably aren't (there was an old story about how Sprint refused to locate a cellphone in a stolen car when the car had a baby in it), willing to report coordinates to law enforcement when a theft report has been filed. (In fact, I think they should be required to do such reporting if the data is easily available to them, perhaps for a nominal service fee.)

Around here, muggers regularly steal cellphones. If one could locate the cellphone quickly, the police would be much better able to nab the mugger, unless the batteries have run out or the mugger had the sense to turn it off. Since sometimes the muggers also beat, stab or shoot people (even when the people cooperate), this would be a definite benefit.

Re:So what if they were cell phones? (1)

owlstead (636356) | more than 7 years ago | (#17694026)

It's not as much retrieving the phones (or, in this case, GPS devices), it's about apprehending the thieves. How many small crimes are actually solved by the police? But you can rest assured that many, many crimes are performed by a small group of people. Getting these people out of the street and putting them straight is what it is all about. Also, if people are being caught, it's a message out there to all the other (wannabe) thieves; crime does not pay - not that this message is true all the time, but this is the message nonetheless.

Re:So what if they were cell phones? (1)

Gordonjcp (186804) | more than 7 years ago | (#17693468)

Mobile phones don't have GPS. You *might* be able to triangulate a position if it's visible by a couple of sectors, but even that's iffy.

Re:So what if they were cell phones? (2, Informative)

Detritus (11846) | more than 7 years ago | (#17693692)

Many mobile phones have partial or full GPS receivers. It's one way to meet the FCC's mandates for E911 cell phone location.

Re:So what if they were cell phones? (1)

Gordonjcp (186804) | more than 7 years ago | (#17694752)

Erm, *what*? Isn't that a massive privacy invasion?

Re:So what if they were cell phones? (1)

Detritus (11846) | more than 7 years ago | (#17694812)

When you make a call to 911, you usually want the emergency dispatcher to have an accurate fix on your location. Of the phones that I've seen with GPS capability, they all had an option to restrict transmission of location information to 911 calls only.

Re:So what if they were cell phones? (1)

Gordonjcp (186804) | more than 7 years ago | (#17695244)

Hm, yeah, and that would *never* be switched on by anyone other than, oh hang on, the police to name but one. No thanks. I'll stick with my nice non-GPS GSM mobile, thanks.

Anyway, what's wrong with simply telling the 999 operator where you are?

Re:So what if they were cell phones? (1)

Detritus (11846) | more than 7 years ago | (#17695974)

Don't feel too smug. There are a number of technologies that can be used to accurately track the location of GSM phones, without your knowledge or consent.

The problem is that people often do not know where they are, or they only have a vague idea as to their location. I've been in that situation, on a highway between two major cities, where there are few references that can be used to determine a location, or in unfamiliar neighborhoods where I don't know the name of the street that I'm on.

Re:So what if they were cell phones? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17694588)

Not all cell phones use GPS (like T-Mobile). The FCC requirements mandate specific location (I think it's 100m >95% of the time). The FCC does not specify a method the mobile carrier must use to meet the E911 location mandates. The term is trilateration and not triangulation when figuring location using multiple triangles. Triangulation is not as accurate as trilateration so the latter is used. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Triangulation [wikipedia.org] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trilateration [wikipedia.org]

what ever happened to bold thefts. (2, Interesting)

timmarhy (659436) | more than 7 years ago | (#17692886)

honestly i'm so sick of all these petty stealing pricks. i got broken into and they stole my aircon remote and a tin of wall putty. if your going to steal things, atleast put some thought into it and steal something worthwhile. like the people who stole a prize winning garden gnome and took photo's of it at places around the world and sent them back to the owner. otherwise your just a dumb punk.

Re:what ever happened to bold thefts. (4, Funny)

Phil246 (803464) | more than 7 years ago | (#17692978)

Someone in southampton, UK not too long ago stole a urinal from a pub; http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/hampshire/62344 45.stm [bbc.co.uk]
Bottom line is , people will steal anything. Expecting them to do it in style is a bit much to hope for.

Re:what ever happened to bold thefts. (1)

chanrobi (944359) | more than 7 years ago | (#17693080)

One of my friends had his u-lock cut (bicycle) and his front wheel and tire removed. They only stole his front wheels inner tube. Left the rest of his bike and wheels intact.

Re:what ever happened to bold thefts. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17693218)

Someone stole an old laptop from me recently. The thing wasn't worth much more than about $10. They broke my $200 driver-side window to get to it.

Re:what ever happened to bold thefts. (1)

that this is not und (1026860) | more than 7 years ago | (#17694154)

We're probably lucky thieves aren't as organized and devious as they could be.

Thieves could make it the common practice to ruthlessly trash any bike with a u-lock on it. Or, to be more discreet, they could simply start squirting superglue into the keyholes of u-locks.

Moves like this would discourage bike riders from oversecuring their bikes, leading to a world of free bikes parked all over communities for anybody to use. Or maybe not, but it's something one can ponder.

Re:what ever happened to bold thefts. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17695762)

Moves like this would discourage bike riders from oversecuring their bikes, leading to a world of easily stolen bikes.

Fixed it.

Re:what ever happened to bold thefts. (2, Interesting)

Cassini2 (956052) | more than 7 years ago | (#17694266)

We once had a 15 year old, 40 MegaByte Hard Drive stolen! It was virtually impossible to source a replacement non-IDE hard drive. The hard drive was embedded in an industrial machine, and it was a nightmare to source spares. We finally wound up replacing the entire computer.

I think the bill came to something like $45,000 in machine downtime, $2,000 in a replacement hardware, and $20 for a USB memory key ... It was an expensive 40MB hard drive.

Re:what ever happened to bold thefts. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17694794)

Here's a good example of people nicking anything http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/england/6278897 .stm [bbc.co.uk] , from a couple of days ago. I expect Johnson earns at least $20000 a week and is still too cheap to spend a penny!

Re:what ever happened to bold thefts. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17694926)

http://www.portsmouth.vitalfootball.co.uk/article. asp?a=47710 [vitalfootball.co.uk]
and what about an England footballer being caught by a 74 year old security guard

Re:what ever happened to bold thefts. (2, Funny)

rob1980 (941751) | more than 7 years ago | (#17693172)

I had the face plate stolen off of the radio in my car about a year and a half ago. There were obvious signs of distress in the console around where the radio was mounted indicating the kid who did it had tried to steal the whole thing, but in the end he gave up and just took off with the face plate. What really made things amusing was he took the stub from a ticket to a football game and left nearly ten dollars in change sitting in the ashtray. Talk about not making it worthwhile.

Re:what ever happened to bold thefts. (2, Funny)

ChipMonk (711367) | more than 7 years ago | (#17693210)

Tell me about it. A couple years ago, when I was living in a not-too-nice neighborhood, someone broke into my car and took the stereo (which self-destructed on disconnect), the amplifier (woefully under-powered), and the speakers (which were wearing out).

What did they leave? A Magellan GPS unit, mounted in a bracket on the dash, with "GPS 315" printed on it in big white letters, in full view. Five seconds for that one item would have doubled the street value of their take.

Idiots.

Re:what ever happened to bold thefts. (1)

jedrek (79264) | more than 7 years ago | (#17694466)

Not bad.

I had my car broken into last week as I left my cell phone inside by accident. (I know, dumb move.)

Stolen: cell phone - bought new for $130 w/o contract, spare change, olympus mju II film camera - $40 used (I got it for free)

Left behind: 6 DVDs in a box from amazon on the rear seat, 60 GB 4th gen iPod.

Re:what ever happened to bold thefts. (1, Informative)

pafrusurewa (524731) | more than 7 years ago | (#17693328)

like the people who stole a prize winning garden gnome and took photo's of it at places around the world and sent them back to the owner.
Did that really happen? That's awfully similar to one of the plot lines of a movie called "Le fabuleux destin d'Amélie Poulain".

Re:what ever happened to bold thefts. (1)

Ciggy (692030) | more than 7 years ago | (#17693958)

I presume this is this is a possible story [fultonsun.com] being mentioned, but this one [csmonitor.com] mentions something more likely (Ms Austin's gnome). I hope they're true.

Re:what ever happened to bold thefts. (1)

icebrain (944107) | more than 7 years ago | (#17694264)

This has reportedly been done several times with the "T" from the top of Tech Tower [wikipedia.org] .

Re:what ever happened to bold thefts. (1)

jc42 (318812) | more than 7 years ago | (#17694326)

Not only has this happened (several times), but some people have taken it far too far [wikipedia.org] .

That article has links that will lead you to stories of several of the travelling garden gnomes.

I also read an article a while back about a gang that look for plastic flamingoes, and when the owners aren't home (or during the night), sneak into the yard and move the flamingoes around. I saw one photo of a plastic flamingo that was found perched in a nearby tree.

Re:what ever happened to bold thefts. (1)

Romwell (873455) | more than 7 years ago | (#17693432)

Mod parent up for Amelie reference, please !

This looks like a job for... (1)

Joebert (946227) | more than 7 years ago | (#17696006)

i got broken into and they stole my aircon remote and a tin of wall putty

Couldn't have been a geek, they would have hacked your robot & made it snail mail that stuff to them.

I believe, it was terrorists.
The terrorists have obviously enlisted the help of McGuyver, McGuyver, having become outraged when his show was canceled, will use the remote as a timing device for the C-4 that will become of your wall putty & the lint in his new terrorist buddies pockets.

Not news IMO (4, Interesting)

Jack9 (11421) | more than 7 years ago | (#17692904)

Digg and Fark cover general stupidity.

Re:Not news IMO (1)

itlurksbeneath (952654) | more than 7 years ago | (#17694194)

I guess the news is the GPS devices ACTUALLY WORKED! I had a GPS receiver for my Palm Pilot for a while. That damn thing was frustrating. It would only work with a CLEAR and UNOBSTRUCTED view of the sky, and even then it took like 5 minutes to get a lock (or whatever its' called) on the satellites. How often do we have that good a view of the sky every day? Me - just when I'm driving to work.

Re:Not news IMO (1)

wwwillem (253720) | more than 7 years ago | (#17694388)

That sounds very much like the HandyGPS. Luckily I paid only 10 bucks for it on eBay, but indeed the thing is a complete mess.

It reminds me... (3, Interesting)

gooman (709147) | more than 7 years ago | (#17692924)

My dad likes to say, "If they were smart, they wouldn't be crooks, they'd have real jobs."

Re:It reminds me... (5, Insightful)

ColaMan (37550) | more than 7 years ago | (#17692938)

If they were smart, they'd still be crooks, just at large.

Smart crooks are not identified - you hear very little about them apart from statements such as, "Police are appealing for help from the general public to help catch a criminal who did X."

Re:It reminds me... (1)

Beryllium Sphere(tm) (193358) | more than 7 years ago | (#17692980)

If they were *really* smart then nobody would know that a crime had been committed.

Re:It reminds me... (2, Interesting)

atcurtis (191512) | more than 7 years ago | (#17692984)


The smartest criminals are so deft at their art that no one, least of all the police, is aware that a crime has even taken place...

Re:It reminds me... (1)

justinlee37 (993373) | more than 7 years ago | (#17693366)

I know all about this.

Re:It reminds me... (2, Insightful)

hughk (248126) | more than 7 years ago | (#17693612)

you forgot that they are probably working on Wall St wheer as long as they steal in the name of the company, they will be rewarded handsomely with end-of-year bonuses.

Re:It reminds me... (1)

that this is not und (1026860) | more than 7 years ago | (#17694172)

Or, they're within the ruling party in countries with Socialist governments.

But now I'm broadening the discussion in ways probably unwelcome.

Re:It reminds me... (1)

rednip (186217) | more than 7 years ago | (#17695290)

Or, they're within the ruling party in countries with Socialist governments.

or within the ruling party of a 'democratic' government. I suspect that many of them are now switching from 'Republican' to 'Democrat'.

Re:It reminds me... (1)

Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) | more than 7 years ago | (#17694658)

you forgot that they are probably working on Wall St

Or Washington, DC.

Re:It reminds me... (1)

kfg (145172) | more than 7 years ago | (#17693136)

Smart crooks are not identified. . .

Although the smartest ones get their names on the front page and a civic award.

KFG

Re:It reminds me... (1)

that this is not und (1026860) | more than 7 years ago | (#17694216)

Or bronze statues [mccullagh.org] are put up in their honor and cities [fas.org] are named after them.

Re:It reminds me... (1)

NSash (711724) | more than 7 years ago | (#17693168)

Be that as it may, most crooks are not smart. Most crimes are spur of the moment rather than carefully planned, and have a low payoff relative to their risk. Most crimes are committed within 1 mile of the criminal's home. Most petty criminals average 20 crimes before they are caught: those are the ones who think they are smart, not realizing they're playing a fool's game for what amounts to chump change.

Re:It reminds me... (5, Funny)

Cyberax (705495) | more than 7 years ago | (#17693220)

The smartest crooks do not violate laws. They MAKE them.

Re:It reminds me... (1)

Sique (173459) | more than 7 years ago | (#17693370)

That's like the famous quote from the Beggar's Opera:

"What is breaking into a bank compared with founding a bank?"

Re:It reminds me... (1)

Hinhule (811436) | more than 7 years ago | (#17693708)

Oh they are RIAA board members ;)

Re:It reminds me... (1)

pafrusurewa (524731) | more than 7 years ago | (#17693744)

What's the difference these days?

Re:It reminds me... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17694672)

This isn't really all that funny, its the most insightful post i've seen on slashdot in awhile.

Re:It reminds me... (1)

loconet (415875) | more than 7 years ago | (#17695728)

or are CEOs, which one can argue make laws as well...

Re:It reminds me... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17695824)

The smartest crooks don't stop there. They make the laws, violate them, and still don't get caught.

Absence of evidence... (1)

mangu (126918) | more than 7 years ago | (#17693890)

Smart crooks are not identified - you hear very little about them


Smart people aren't crooks. It doesn't take too much intelligence to perceive that you have limited time and resources to commit a crime, law enforcement has all the time and resources in the world to investigate. The only way to remain uncaught, apart from pure luck, is being such a petty crook that nobody really cares.


Remember you aren't alone in the world. There's always someone who may have seen you, who may remember. The homeless who was sleeping under that cardboard by the trash can, the security guard who had to take a leak, the neighbor who became curious, your car had a flat and that police officer comes to help you, the maintenance crew arrives for an unscheduled repair while you are in the system, etc.


If you don't consider all the possibilities you are stupid, if you rely on luck, you are stupid. The only smart people are honest people.

Re:Absence of evidence... (1)

joto (134244) | more than 7 years ago | (#17695784)

Smart people aren't crooks. It doesn't take too much intelligence to perceive that you have limited time and resources to commit a crime, law enforcement has all the time and resources in the world to investigate.

On the other hand, you can spend decades planning the perfect crime. The police can only spend as much as the budget allows (which is frequently ridiculously low). What keeps people from doing crime, is that people are generally good people, and don't want to harm anyone else. If we had to rely on fear of getting caught alone, the society would have broken down several millennia ago.

The only way to remain uncaught, apart from pure luck, is being such a petty crook that nobody really cares.

In general, you will get caught if your crime is important enough, or if you are stupid enough. The truly talentless idiotic morons who repeatedly do the same petty crimes over and over, will eventually be caught, no matter how petty crimes we talk about. The normally intelligent, or slightly below average intelligent people who do more major robberies, etc, will often get caught. And yeah, if your crime is really important, you may end up getting caught even if you are really smart. Like the unabomber. On the other hand, there are plenty of old people shoplifting who never get caught.

Remember you aren't alone in the world. There's always someone who may have seen you, who may remember. The homeless who was sleeping under that cardboard by the trash can, the security guard who had to take a leak, the neighbor who became curious, your car had a flat and that police officer comes to help you, the maintenance crew arrives for an unscheduled repair while you are in the system, etc.

A reasonably intelligent criminal can assume that the people who observed him doesn't recognize him, because he's not a celebrity, and not in his home town, and is wearing some form of disguise, and is not wearing his normal clothes, and is driving a stolen car, and so on...

If you don't consider all the possibilities you are stupid, if you rely on luck, you are stupid. The only smart people are honest people.

Relying on luck is stupid, but you can't consider all possibilities, as it's completely unpractical, even for law-abiding honest citizens. Nobody does that, instead we rely on chance, that the odds are in our favour. E.g whenever I get into traffic, I expect to live, because I assume I'm one of the lucky people who are not getting into an accident.

And saying that only smart people are honest people is wishful thinking. It might make you feel good, but that doesn't make it true. Saddam Hussein is just one example...

Re:It reminds me... (2, Insightful)

kfg (145172) | more than 7 years ago | (#17693124)

"If they were smart, they wouldn't be crooks, they'd have real jobs."

Yeah, that's a fairly common thing for people who aren't so smart to say.

The idea of a "real job" is something the smart people invented to take advantage of people stupid enough to buy into it.

KFG

Re:It reminds me... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17693152)

I'm trying to connect your line of reasoning with the topic at hand--are you insinuating that the criminals who thought the GPS units were cell-phones are smart because they don't conform to his "not-so-smart" dad's definition of a "real job?" Or, are you just springboarding off someone else's post to make your own unrelated point?

I don't suppose it occurred to you that his definition of "real job" might be something that involves skill, instead of say petty thievery?

Re:It reminds me... (1)

kfg (145172) | more than 7 years ago | (#17693186)

. . .are you just springboarding off someone else's post to make your own unrelated point?

Bingo!

I don't suppose it occurred to you that his definition of "real job" might be something that involves skill . . .

Why would I want to take advantage of someone with no skill?

. . .instead of say petty thievery?

I never even saw the pickpocket.

KFG

Re:It reminds me... (1, Troll)

jpardey (569633) | more than 7 years ago | (#17693246)

As in pumping gas? Selling clothing? Washing dishes? Yeah, those take a lot more intelligence than breaking into a house, stealing stuff, and selling it, all the while not getting caught.

Re:It reminds me... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17693680)

Presumably the point he was making was not that the job itself necessarily requires intelligence, but rather the decision to hold a job rather than pursue a life of petty crime.

Re:It reminds me... (1)

mikael (484) | more than 7 years ago | (#17695268)

As one detective on TV put it: "Every dumb criminal is a failure of the education system".

Funny in one sense, but sadly true in another - something like 40% of prison inmates are dsylexic and can't read.
So placing large notices with large black and red and warning messages don't really have much effect, even when
they aren't high on drugs.

Surprise Surprise... (0, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17692954)

Most criminals aren't too bright...

Nothing to see here... move along.

Re:Surprise Surprise... (1)

Thexare Blademoon (1010891) | more than 7 years ago | (#17693270)

It only seems that way because we never hear about the smart ones. Would you want to hear "Well, we've been looking for this guy for five years and we can't find him" on the news?

How could you think they were cell phones? (1)

Zouden (232738) | more than 7 years ago | (#17693002)

There are no photos of the GPS devices, but I imagine they are rugged, ugly things with a greyscale LCD screen and maybe you could get them confused with a cell phone from 1996. Did they honestly think a phone that ugly would sell?

I know thieves are stupid but wouldn't it be worthwhile knowing what you're stealing?

Re:How could you think they were cell phones? (1)

KokorHekkus (986906) | more than 7 years ago | (#17693250)

Googled a bit and found that it probably was cellphones with built in GPS tracking. "Babylon uses its GPS-enabled cellphones and supporting software every day to help make work like sweeping streets and filling potholes more efficient." [1]. Maybe they police and the town doesn't want to advertise that there are some 300 phones if to steal if you can get to them (and of course shut down the GPS in them!)

[1] http://developer.sprint.com/site/global/home/p_hom e.jsp [sprint.com]

Re:How could you think they were cell phones? (1)

zakezuke (229119) | more than 7 years ago | (#17695194)

There are no photos of the GPS devices, but I imagine they are rugged, ugly things with a greyscale LCD screen and maybe you could get them confused with a cell phone from 1996. Did they honestly think a phone that ugly would sell?

I know thieves are stupid but wouldn't it be worthwhile knowing what you're stealing?


If you attend flee markets, you'll notice quite a few people who simply don't know what they are selling. I remember back in like 1986 I wanted a cordless phone, which I bought one from such a flea market but only after I bought it I realized the base station was simply a charger and had no provisions to be hooked up to a phone line. The seller had no idea what I was talking about.

Now... I assumed that cellphones and other things which use serial numbers to access a service were worthless if declaired stolen. But in the age of the sim card, It's possible they won't bother to keep track of them.

In some cases, these older phones have value. I know for example I have a friend who's looking for your basic phone, something like the nokia 3120 but in triband or n.america, your basic nokia without a camera, or a bunch of trivial other crap, yet built like a brick, and better battery life then the new fangled 6010 or the 6103. "I" don't know for a fact about the battery life, but the built like a brick... that is something I can see with many older phones.

But this sounds like a crime of convenience. Kids took some shit that they thought they could get "some" money for.

This shouldn't happen... (1)

creimer (824291) | more than 7 years ago | (#17693160)

The township should place warning stickers on these devices to inform clueless criminals not to steal them. Now they can sue the township for causing them trouble.

Re:This shouldn't happen... (1)

Detritus (11846) | more than 7 years ago | (#17693716)

I'd rather see the township call up the Air Force and arrange for the delivery of a concrete-filled JDAM to the coordinates of the device.

Aren't cell phones GPS reporting devices too? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17693264)

Correct me if I'm wrong, but aren't all the modern cell phones -- GPS reporting devices as well? So it wouldn't have made a difference in the end. The only mistake they made was to steal from the wrong people. If my own cell phone gets stolen, even if I had a box full of them, I doubt the police would track it down -- even if they could.

So how long until... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17693494)

mobile phones come with GPS that is adequate for locating them if/when they're lost or stolen?

(Disclaimer: My knowledge of how GPS and mobile phones work is modest)

:) a smiley thing a ma jigyy (1)

partowel (469956) | more than 7 years ago | (#17693502)

hahahahahahahahhahahahahahhahaha

LOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOL

Quote "What goes around...blah blah blah"

Theft in the real world (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17694214)

The Slashdot brand of crime fighting:

"The ZMR-3 electromagnetic body imaging system is a laughable way of security. Already in 1983 Dr. Kravchenko at the Moscow institute of physics theorised how you could use a fluid conductor suit to fool such a scanning system, and the original image could be easily gotten from a disguised changing room."

The reality of crime fighting:

Put a GPS receiver in the front seat next to your iPod. Make sure you replace the front cover with a chrome one first and glue some bits of colored glass to it.

smart thieves (1)

azery (865903) | more than 7 years ago | (#17694380)

smart thieving is not about not getting found. A smart theft is not even discovered. Like stealing one cent from a lot of people and nobody relizes he is missing a cent.

Re:smart thieves (1)

Experiment 626 (698257) | more than 7 years ago | (#17694470)

A smart theft is not even discovered. Like stealing one cent from a lot of people and nobody relizes he is missing a cent.

Good plan, Richard Pryor. Just make sure Superman doesn't catch on to your brilliant scheme.

my friends gps mio got stolen too (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17695748)

someone broke into her car and stole the mio yesterday.. she called mio tech and was told there is no way for them to find out where it is .. does anyone know of a way ? i think not but thought i will ask you guys
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