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Thieves Busted for Stealing GPS Trackers From FedEx Dropbox

September 29, 2021

In an incident that could be considered a great example of 'Karma' being served expeditiously, two burglars broke into a major shipper's drop-off box and stole a package of what they thought were everyday electronics that they could sell. The incident was captured on the nearest building's CCTV (Closed-Circuit Television) camera. What they stole, and proceeded to drive with around for days, turned out to be Roambee's GPS (Global Positioning System) trackers en route to one of the primary COVID-19 vaccine makers, for use in tracking shipments for logistics integrity. The thieves were brought to justice within weeks, and all trackers were recovered successfully.

The stolen GPS tracking sensors are designed by Roambee, a global supply chain visibility provider, as a part of its full-stack location intelligence platform. The sensors communicate directly to the cloud and constantly update real-time location, condition, and chain of custody of goods at an item level when on shipments or in storage, ideal for following time and temperature-sensitive shipments.

On July 6, 2021, the thieves were able to access the drop-off box, which included the package full of bright yellow GPS trackers. Tossing the package in the car's trunk, the unassuming thieves drove around for days. Utterly oblivious to the devices' application and what was approaching them the thieves held on to the package.

When the Roambee team in the Santa Clara office checked the shipment status on the package shipper's website, it showed "Not Picked Up." It was way past the scheduled pickup time for the day, and something seemed odd. After the theft's confirmation, the company's representatives reached out to the Santa Clara Police Department. According to the team, the officers were ecstatic to find out that the thieves stole GPS trackers. The police had access to the hourly location and movement of the package as the suspects clocked 761 miles over a span of 14 days around the Bay Area from the day of the theft, before being apprehended by the police without incident on July 18.

Vidya Subramanian, VP of Emerging Technologies at Roambee, said, "This is not the first time that the company has had its trackers stolen. In 2017, burglars broke into our office and stole GPS tracking sensors, and were busted within hours of the incident. However, the latest incident happened when the trackers were in transit, demonstrating the vulnerability of courier drop-off boxes. This incident proves that our technology works reliably and its significance for companies shipping pharma, electronics, food, and other high-value products, requiring a verifiable chain of custody that couriers or shippers typically cannot offer."

Santa Clara police are currently tracking the package's GPS audit trails through the company's web platform to trace the thieves' routes, potentially solving more thefts. It demonstrates how effective this innovative supply chain visibility technology is in improving the safety of crucial supply chains, in the U.S. and worldwide.

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