Palo Alto Police Department uses tracking technology to capture car thief

Posted on Jun 12, 2014

The Palo Alto Police Department are thanking a new tracking technology system that helped officers recover a stolen luxury vehicle and apprehend the suspected thief in the case, the Mercury News reported.

Lt. Zach Perron of the Palo Alto Police Department explained that a 2013 Audi S5 was stolen on the 100 block of South Market Street in San Jose, California, after the owner temporarily left his vehicle unattended with the key still in the ignition, the source reported.

However, the vehicle was secured with a LoJack stolen vehicle recovery security system, and the victim left an iPhone in the glove box, which gave the police the immediate location of the car once they used the "Find My iPhone" application, the source reported.

The San Jose police contacted the Palo Alto Police Department around 5:45 p.m. on May 26 to help recover the stolen vehicle. According to the source, once the officers installed the iPhone locator application, the police were able to track the vehicle to the Town and Country Village in Palo Alto.

The Palo Alto police were also able to get a physical description of the suspect while the car was being stolen.

Suspect quickly located on tracking device

Perron told the source that police were able to quickly locate the vehicle by 6 p.m., which was unoccupied at a shopping center in El Camino Real when they arrived. Once the officers had the description, they closely watched the car for more than an hour in hopes the suspect would return to the vehicle.

The suspect didn't return to the car, but once officers started searching the vehicle for any evidence, a call came in about someone entering a CVS Pharmacy matching the suspect's description.

Perron said the suspect was identified as Tony Nathan Cota, a 44-year-old from Fresno, the source reported. The police were able to find the key to the luxury car in his possession along with methamphetamine and other drug paraphernalia.

"If your portable electronic device is stolen or lost and you are using a remote application to track its location, notify your local law enforcement agency immediately and do not take independent action to attempt to recover your property," Perron explained in an official press release from the Palo Alto Police Department.

The car was undamaged and safely returned to the victim, who was described as a man in his 40s. According to the police department, the suspect was brought into the Santa Clara County Main Jail for felony vehicle theft and possession of narcotics.

Police departments are always searching for ways to decrease the crime with crime control technology. NC4 Street Smart technology allows officers access to detailed crime maps and police bulletin boards while patrolling the streets in their vehicles. 

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