GPS tracking technology is certainly nothing new. At this point, it’s essentially become a ubiquitous part of our daily lives. Professionals use GPS tracking for fleet management purposes, for example, making sure that their truck drivers aren’t breaking the rules and that their entire fleet is operating at peak efficiency at all times. Other people use GPS trackers in an effort to keep a better eye on their teenage drivers, giving them both the independence teens seek and offering parents a way to make sure they’re always safe from harm.
Since the vast majority of GPS tracker uses are so innocent in nature, it’s easy to forget that the technology brings with it certain broader applications, too. Such was the case in Illinois recently, when a GPS tracking device that was slipped into a bundle of cash during a robbery actually resulted in the fast and efficient arrest of said subject.
The Chicago Bank Robbery: What You Need to Know
A 64-year-old Mississippi man named Sidney Hassell recently entered a TCF Bank inside a Jewel-Osco in Chicago, at which point he waited in line just like any other customer. But when he finally got his chance to speak to a teller, however, everyone knew that this transaction was going to play out quite differently from the ones before it.
When Hassell reached the teller, he handed over a deposit slip with a note written on it very clearly “This is a robbery” and “Do not make any sudden movements, just give me all the money in your drawer.”
The teller in question gave Hassell a total of $560, but not before taking a few steps to make sure that this particular criminal would soon find himself behind bars.
First, the teller slipped in four $20 bills with recorded serial numbers as “bait bills.” Because the serial numbers had been properly recorded ahead of time, they could be easily flagged. When Hassell went to spend them at a later date, it would help clue the proper authorities into where he was and what he was up to.
Then, the teller also slipped a GPS tracking device in between the stacks of cash that were soon handed off to Hassell. With not one but two traps having been successfully set, the teller then gave Hassell the rest of the money.
As soon as Hassell was out of the bank, the teller called the police, giving over all necessary information about what happened, what the suspect looked like, what he was wearing, etc. Thanks to the wonders of modern technology, responding officers from the Chicago police department weren’t just able to receive radio broadcasts of the suspect’s description, but they were also able to instantly get real-time location updates from the GPS device that had been hidden alongside the money he stole.
Officers quickly went into action, tracking the vehicle and pulling it over. Hassell, who clearly matched the description that had been provided by the teller, was still inside. After searching the car, officers found both the hat and the brown jacket from the teller’s description. With that, they were able to properly identify Hassell as the robber, and he was quickly arrested.
After obtaining an FBI search warrant, the officers were also able to search the jacket – finding all of the stolen money, including the four bills with the matching serial numbers, inside.
Again, this is yet another in a long line of examples of how technology like GPS tracking truly makes our lives better on a daily basis. Sometimes all you want to do is protect your car in the event that it is stolen, or use historical data to see a comprehensive list of all the places you’ve visited over time. Sometimes, though, this technology has a much larger purpose – like apprehending bank robbers as quickly and as safely as possible. With a technology that has come as far as GPS tracking has in just a few short years, it’s truly exciting to think about what the future might hold.