GPS leads U.S. police to Canadian backpacker Audrey Carey’s alleged killers
The Global Positioning System (GPS) in a stolen car helped police on the U.S. West Coast locate the alleged killers of a Canadian traveller found dead as a result of a shooting.
Audrey Carey, from Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, Que., was on her first solo trip and may have attended the Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival the night before her body was found in a wooded area in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park last Saturday morning.
The San Francisco Police Department said a passerby spotted the 23-year-old “lying face down in Golden Gate Park.” Carey had been shot, and San Francisco Police said her body had signs of trauma, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.
Police said three suspects were arrested in Portland, Ore. Wednesday, more than 1,000 km north, with property belonging to the victim.
Described as “drifters” in media reports, police named the suspects as 23-year-old Morrison Haze Lampley, 24-year-old Sean Michael Angold and 18-year-old Lila Scott Alligood, all of no fixed address.
Police arrested the trio after tracking the stolen 2003 Volkswagen Jetta of a man murdered Monday — 67-year-old yoga teacher and massage therapist Steve Carter, who had been shot multiple times on a Mairin County hiking trail, about 32 km north of San Francisco.
Using the GPS in Carter’s stolen car and surveillance footage from a gas station, where Carter’s wallet had been found, Mairin County police located the suspects leaving the St. Francis Dining Hall, a soup kitchen at a Catholic church.
According to the San Francisco Chronicle, police also found what they believe is the gun used to kill Carter.
Police use of GPS tracking
GPS also helped New York City police arrest a 21-year-old man, wanted for the Aug. 31 murder of businessman and the rape of a teenager in Raleigh, North Carolina. NYPD arrested Kendrick Gregory Sept. 1 after a woman reported her new Honda Pilot being stolen. She had stepped out of her vehicle, but had left her key in the ignition, according to PIX 11 News.
“NYPD officer Adam Riddick tracked the vehicle as it entered the Brooklyn Bridge on the Manhattan side. When the car reached Smith Street, responding officers were waiting, and stopped the driver between Pacific and Dean,” PIX 11 reported.
GPS technology is commonly used to track stolen phones or stolen cars. In fact, police in British Columbia have been using GPS devices in so-called bait cars to catch car thieves.
But the technology has also been preemptively employed in ongoing police investigations, with police affixing GPS devices to track known suspects in crimes, notably a 2004 FBI-Washington, D.C. Metropolitan Police drug investigation of a suspected drug kingpin named Antoine Jones.
While Jones’ arrest led to the largest cocaine seizure in the U.S. capital’s history, NPR reported his conviction was later overturned after the U.S. Court of Appeals in Washington ruled police violated the Fourth Amendment because authorities did not obtain a warrant to put the GPS on his vehicle and track him over the course of 28 days.
The government took its appeal to the Supreme Court and lost, he government took its appeal to the Supreme Court and lost, leading to warrants being required for police to install GPS devices on a vehicle.
According to the Associated Press, the Supreme Court ruling “didn’t specifically address the embedding of GPS devices pre-emptively in objects that are apt to be stolen.” The ruling also did not address the length of time that authorities can track a suspect or how they use the information obtained.
In Canada, GPS devices can only be used investigations with a warrant and when there are “reasonable grounds to suspect that an offence has been or will be committed and that information would assist in the police investigation.”
While a warrant for law enforcement to use a tracking device is only good for 60 days. But, an exception can be made for investigations into terrorism offences and organized crime, in which case the warrant could be extended for up to one year.
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