Gloucester Township police put GPS trackers on packages to stop thieves

The boom in online buying has put millions of packages on front porches all across the nation and in case after case, crooks are quick to grab them. Now, one South Jersey community is stepping up and saying 'not in our town'.

FOX 29's Bruce Gordon has the story.

You can hardly turn on the news these days without seeing video of thieves making off with packages delivered to the front steps of a home. The problem is no worse in Gloucester Township than anywhere else, but online shoppers here all seem to know someone who's been targeted.

That concern is why Gloucester Township police spent the past 12 months rigging packages with GPS tracking devices. A program they revealed publicly on Monday.

"Our decision today to announce this effort--the use of such technology in undercover operations is about prevention through deterrence," Gloucester Township Police Department Chief Harry Earle said.

Police gave a live demonstration of the sting. One officer pretended to steal a package delivered to say a home down the street. Within a minute of his disappearance, the motion activates the GPS tracker, which sends a signal to police dispatch.

That signal-- silent to the thief but audible to cops-- is accurate to within six seconds of real time and within a few feet of specific location.

Gloucester Township says over the past year the rigged packages led one crook to take the bait. According to police, he was arrested and charged. In addition, six bicycles with the GPS were swiped. In each case, the thief or thieves were nabbed.

"If you're not an honest, law-abiding citizen, then don't come to Gloucester Township because you never know if the item that you are stealing is equipped with a GPS tracking system," Gloucester Township Mayor David Mayer.