In Rogers, Arkansas, a GPS “money tracker” slipped into a bag during a bank robbery allowed police to track the suspect and make an arrest Friday, July 3rd. The suspect is now being held on a $200,000 bond as he stands accused of robbing one bank and attempting to rob another. Anthony Timothy Barnes, 31, of Rogers faces two counts of aggravated robbery and a count of felony theft of property. The robbery charges are class Y felonies, meaning Barnes could receive a sentence of 10 to 40 years on each of the counts.
Barnes one-day crime spree both started and ended haphazardly. On Friday, a call at 3:16 P.M. made police aware of an attempted robbery at First Federal Bank on West Huston Road. The robber was unable to steal any money due to the bullet-proof glass protecting the tellers. After employees refused to let the masked criminal behind the counter, he fled without anything to justify his efforts. A little less than an hour later, at 4:07, a call from the Bank of the Ozarks at North 47th Street again alerted police. The robber was able to take more than $2,5000 from the teller, but he also was taken down by him when the teller included the covert GPS tracker along with the robber’s loot. The bag also had a locator tag inside of it which uses the same technology that is used in the consumer focused BrickHouse Child Locator, while the GPS tracker that was placed inside of the bag uses the same kind of technology as our tiny Spark Nano Real-Time GPS tracking device. Both our BrickHouse Child Locator and Spark Nano are essentially consumer versions of the tech that was used for the bust, though BrickHouse offers many professional solutions for law enforcement as well.
The Rogers Police Department used the money tracker to locate Barnes at almost his exact location, at a home on 6000 South 38th Place, before taking him into custody. The actions of the unnamed teller at the Bank of the Ozarks were intelligent and heroic ones. By using an efficient and undetectable GPS system to help the police catch the bank robber, he protected other banks and possibly other people’s lives.
“I believe it would be inappropriate to discuss investigate techniques such as these,” said Rogers Police Chief Stief Hamilton when asked asked about the case and the unique manner through which Barnes was captured. “Discussing this information in a public venue such as the media only provides additional information for criminals and might place bank employees in jeopardy, but that is just my opinion.”
On the other hand, Brickhouse Security’s Todd Morris believes that if companies and organizations make it known that they use security items such as GPS trackers to protect their valuable materials, they can use this information to deter crime. Morris has developed this opinion from both the observations he had of companies with similar stories to these banks, and also from an experiment that BrickHouse Security conducted. Last year, BrickHouse Security gave out GPS devices around Christmas time to churches who had a history of nativity scenes being robbed during the holiday season. The word spread, and many major new outlets, including CNN picked up the story that the churches were now using GPS devices. As a result, not one nativity scene was stolen from any of the participating churches this past holiday season.
Morris says of the effectiveness of GPS trackers uses to protect banks, “The GPS tracker can be extremely small and hidden in ways that no one can ever find them,” Morris said. “Once you’ve got the money, it’s not all over.”