Car dealerships tracking customers could be a life saver

Reported by: Kyle Rogers

MECHANICSBURG, Pa., — While surveillance video caught the moment when a Philadelphia woman was abducted, police said it was a simple GPS tracking device in her suspected-kidnapper€™s car that could have saved her life.

Police said a traffic camera caught the name of the dealership belonging to the man€™s car and police learned his dealership equipped the vehicle with a GPS. Delvin Barns, the accused, was at a bad credit risk which is why the dealership installed the device.

€œThey€™ve become commonplace in the used car industry,€ said Donald Leggett.

Leggett owns Spanky€™s Auto Group in Mechanicsburg.

Nearly 70% of €œbuy here, pay here€ car dealerships install the GPS devices onto the vehicles, according to one study.

€œIf somebody€™s running behind, they can pull you up on your computer and see your tracks,€ said Leggett.

He said banks require the GPS devices on the vehicles to protect their equity. Not only does it serve as a location-finder should the car have to be repossessed, the bank can keep the car from driving. Should a car buyer not keep up with the payments and prior arrangements are not made, the bank can shut down the car. However, Leggett said, it is not possible to stop the car while being driven.

Those who are required to have the GPS device in the vehicle have to sign documentation allowing it to be installed, according to Leggett. If they choose not to sign, they will not receive the car.

€œPeople think that these are tracking throughout the entire day, almost like a big brother, where they go, every stop, start,€ said Michael Fischer, president of GPS and Track. €œIt just doesn€™t happen that way. These devices are typically used as a last resort, basically an insurance policy.€