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COPS PUT GPS TRACKER ON MAN’S CAR, CHARGE HIM WITH THEFT FOR REMOVING IT

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Posted · Original PosterOP
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Warrick County, IN — What would you do if you found a creepy device attached to your car that looked like something used to track you? Would you simply leave it there and go on about your business? Or, would you remove it? Well, a man in Indiana chose the former and removed it. It turned out to be a GPS tracker and because it was placed their by police, this man is now being charged with theft. He’s now fought his case all the way to the state Supreme Court.

 

Since 2012, it has been unlawful for police departments to attach GPS tracking devices to vehicles without first obtaining a warrant, thanks to a ruling by the US Supreme Court. Despite outlawing warrantless applications of GPS trackers, TFTP has reported on several cases in which this still happens. However, this is not one of them. The Warrick County Sheriff’s Office legally obtained a warrant and placed a GPS tracker on Derek Heuring’s car in July of 2018.

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The Warrick County Sheriff’s Office suspected Heuring of being drug dealer, so they began tracking his every move. But after a week, Heuring discovered the GPS device and removed it.

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According to court documents,

One week later, the GPS device stopped signaling its location. When police went to retrieve the device from Heuring’s vehicle, it was missing. Police obtained a search warrant for Heuring’s residence, alleging that there was probable cause to believe he had committed theft of the device.

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Police did find the device inside Heruing’s home. They also found methamphatamine and drug paraphernalia. He was subsequently charged with dealing meth and theft of a GPS device. After his arrest, Heuring moved to have the evidence suppressed citing the illegal nature of the search because police never had probable cause to ever believe there was a theft.

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Heruing’s defense argued that the device could’ve simply fallen off or malfunctioned. Even if he did “steal” the device, it was on his property and he couldn’t have known for sure that it belonged to the government. As Arstechnia points out:

 

Unfortunately for Heruing, the Warrick Superior Court denied Heuring’s motion to suppress evidence recovered from the searches. On an interlocutory appeal, the Court of Appeals affirmed the denial of the motion to suppress. Now, his case is going before the highest court in the state and it seems he may have some justices on his side.

https://republicbroadcasting.org/news/cops-put-gps-tracker-on-mans-car-charge-him-with-theft-for-removing-it/

 

 

So if I put a gps tracker onto your car and you take it off then it does not consider theft, but if government agents put a gps tracker onto your car and you take it off then you are consider a theft. How the beep is this even work? Is this government power abuse?! How is this fair? The man charged for theft for a device that someone puts onto his vehicle. I mean I would do the same thing too if I find a gps tracker onto my car.

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10 minutes ago, OlympicAssEater said:

https://republicbroadcasting.org/news/cops-put-gps-tracker-on-mans-car-charge-him-with-theft-for-removing-it/

 

 

So if I put a gps tracker onto your car and you take it off then it does not consider theft, but if government agents put a gps tracker onto your car and you take it off then you are consider a theft. How the beep is this even work? Is this government power abuse?! How is this fair? The man charged for theft for a device that someone puts onto his vehicle. I mean I would do the same thing too if I find a gps tracker onto my car.

It may have to do with there being a warrant involved.

warrants can change rules about such things.  If “you” obtained a warrant to place the tracker it might fall under the same protection.  Depending on local law, private citizens can(rarely) sometimes obtain warrants.

 

 Police powers vary from area to area and over time, as do the powers granted by warrants.  It may have to do with specific technicalities of police powers in that area.  That the motion to suppress was denied for the drugs implies that it was being looked at very closely. They obtained a warrant for the home search too.  The key point here is not only did they allege probable cause (which is a very specific thing) but got a judge to agree that it was probable cause.  That’s what warrants do.  What seems to be on trial here is not the drug dealer or the police, or even possibly the judge that issued the warrant, though that is more vague, but the definition of probable cause.  Definitions of probable cause would be a state Supreme Court thing.  It really doesn’t help the probable cause case that the tracker was in the house.


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This is pretty dumb. Even i wouldve done the same thing. Except my first move after removal would be to crush it with a hammer and throw it away.....

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He should have pranked the cop by visiting his house every day while he was working. I swear, some people have no sense of humor smh. /s


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13 minutes ago, PCGuy_5960 said:

He should have pranked the cop by visiting his house every day while he was working. I swear, some people have no sense of humor smh. /s

Or attached it to a different nearby vehicle.


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30 minutes ago, jagdtigger said:

This is pretty dumb. Even i wouldve done the same thing. Except my first move after removal would be to crush it with a hammer and throw it away.....

In which case it would have been damaging police property instead of theft.  6 of one half a dozen of the other.

 

police powers have been narrowing lately.  I wonder if the guy had an Alexa in his house or used an android phone?  Google has much greater potential powers of survelience than police do.


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41 minutes ago, jagdtigger said:

This is pretty dumb. Even i wouldve done the same thing. Except my first move after removal would be to crush it with a hammer and throw it away.....

Or sell it on ebay.

😉

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1 minute ago, Bombastinator said:

In which case it would have been damaging police property instead of theft.  6 of one half a dozen of the other.

Then i would argue that the device was unmarked and as such could been placed by anyone.....  As the e best practice dictates presumed the worst and got rid of it. The police can GTFO......

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39 minutes ago, PCGuy_5960 said:

He should have pranked the cop by visiting his house every day while he was working. I swear, some people have no sense of humor smh. /s

1 - he doesn't know which cop, so whose house does he go to?  

 

2 -  this action could be viewed as threatening a police officer and I'm sure the local law enforcement has the ability to investigate that.  I think they could obtain a search warrant for such behavior.

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10 minutes ago, Intrafinesse said:

Or sell it on ebay.

😉

Would have gotten him in more trouble. Sale of stolen goods.  I suspect that was what he was planning or he wouldn’t have brought it into his house.  I’m wondering if there is information missing from the report.  If the tracker had sufficient resolution and was still on when he brought it inside, the last known location of the device would have been inside his house.  That would have helped with the probable cause for the home search warrant.


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19 minutes ago, Intrafinesse said:

1 - he doesn't know which cop, so whose house does he go to?  

 

2 -  this action could be viewed as threatening a police officer and I'm sure the local law enforcement has the ability to investigate that.  I think they could obtain a search warrant for such behavior.

You are taking this a bit too literally, I was just trying to make a stupid joke.


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What's the problem about this?


English not good. You should take what I say with a grain of salt

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Just now, duncannah said:

What's the problem about this?

The only issue I can find with this is that the owner ripped out a GPS module that he wasn't notified was installed, so as far as the owner is concerned, the GPS was trespassing on his property. If he didn't know about the warrant, he'd think he's being illegally tracked and would be in his right to remove it.


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I'd just put the tracker and some drugs into a parcel and anonymously deliver it to someone i dont like

There is no sender name. What they gona do lol


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Surely the thing to do would be to remove it and drop it out the car on the highway. It must of just dropped off officer...

 

Or get another car for dealing, and keep the tracked car for legitimate journeys. 

 

 

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1 hour ago, jagdtigger said:

Then i would argue that the device was unmarked and as such could been placed by anyone.....  As the e best practice dictates presumed the worst and got rid of it. The police can GTFO......

A narrow point.  Might work.  Might not.  There is the whole “ignorance is not permission” thing.


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Just now, Bombastinator said:

A narrow point.  Might work.  Might not.  There is the whole “ignorance is not permission” thing.

And there is the little tid-bit that it is within my right to remove anything from my car that is not an original part or not installed by myself..... (There are exceptions OFC but an unmarked black box is definitely not on it.)

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Also me: To bad he didn't sell the car instead :)


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18 minutes ago, jagdtigger said:

And there is the little tid-bit that it is within my right to remove anything from my car that is not an original part or not installed by myself..... (There are exceptions OFC but an unmarked black box is definitely not on it.)

Yes.  But that wasn’t the issue.  The issue is not the removal but the destruction.  That is the very narrow point which might possibly fly.  My suggestion was to place it on a different vehicle.  This might actually be just as bad.  The reasons would be different though.  At that point the finder is doing something to someone else’s car, and they’re doing it without a warrant.

 

 


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25 minutes ago, Tristerin said:

Also me: To bad he didn't sell the car instead :)

Also a better idea.  Possibly the best one yet. Anything that gets someone else driving it really.  Rent it to an internet taxi service would be another way.  The car is clearly under surveillance.  For this the methodology be it a gps tracker or more traditional methods is irrelevant. It needs to be gotten rid of or in some way to have it’s behavior no longer legally linked to the driver.


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