Shop Talk: Gadget To Deter GPS Thieves

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    Can you imagine dishing out $200 or $300 bucks on a portable GPS, only to have somebody break into your car to steal it?

    Well, chances are pretty high that if you own one, you could fall victim to it.

    The high-tech mapping devices along with laptops and iPods are now among the biggest targets for thieves with the increase in sales of portable gadgets.

    According to published reports, some 5.8 million personal navigation devices were sold in the U.S. in 2007.  And from April 2007 to April 2008, more than 31,000 portable navigation devices were reported stolen in the U.S.

    Even scarier are reports that thieves are now using stolen GPS systems to track where people live to break in their houses.

    Hoping to help GPS buyers get a grip on those thefts (literally), Who-Rae, an Australian company that manufactures a number of consumer products, has developed Maplock — a security device that latches onto a GPS unit and cables it to the steering wheel.

    The Melbourne-based Who-Rae suggests that suction cup marks or empty mounts left on the windshield are signs that criminals look for, so even if a GPS is removed from the car, thieves will cause expensive damage looking for it.

    Much as the Club, which locks on the steering wheel to prevent your car from getting stolen, if pressed would-be thieves could possibly use a pair of cable-cutters to snatch a GPS.  But they’ll have to put in a lot more work to cash in on the steal and chances are the bright green MapLock would make them think twice about picking your vehicle.   The device hooks onto your GPS while tethering it to your steering wheel, helping deter future thefts.

    “This is where prevention is better than cure comes in,” note Who-Rae officials. It’s available at a number of national retailers.

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