Investigation Explores Alarming Trend of GPS Devices Attached to Cars of Unsuspecting Women
There have been several recent cases of tracking devices affixed to cars, leaving the driver at risk of being victimized by a potential stalker.
Did you know a small GPS device can be secretly attached underneath your car to track your every move?
Inside Edition’s Investigative Unit found numerous cases of men across the U.S. arrested for stalking or harassing after hiding GPS trackers on women’s cars.
One example is Shaun Tyman of Massachusetts, who prosecutors say placed a GPS tracking device on his female co-worker's car and then used it to track her movements for days.
Tyman was charged with stalking after police say surveillance cameras near her home caught him crawling underneath her car and opening her front door. He has pleaded not guilty and had “no comment” when approached by Inside Edition.
“Very often, with the ease to purchase and the ease to place on a car, we're seeing it [happen] more and more,” Inside Edition security consultant Steve Kardian said.
In many states, it is illegal to place a GPS tracker on a car that you don't own, Kardian said. But there are some exceptions.
Melissa Atkins, of Georgia, said she was shocked to find a GPS device had fallen off her car after she hit a curb.
“I couldn't believe it," she told Inside Edition. "I didn’t think it was legal. I felt terrified. I felt like my privacy was completely invaded."
It turned out the man who installed the device, Eric Echols, was a licensed private detective who also secretly recorded video of her and her daughter.
Echols showed Inside Edition’s Chief Investigative Correspondent Lisa Guerrero how he hid the GPS under Atkins’ car.
“You just get down underneath the car and then you're good," he said.
“She claims that she was traumatized by what you did,” Guerrero told Echols.
“I personally don't think she was traumatized,” he replied.
Echols told Inside Edition he was hired by a jealous woman who believed her husband was cheating on her with Atkins.
But Atkins tells Guerrero, "There was no cheating."
Echols was never charged with a crime, since what he did it is not illegal in Georgia, but Atkins later sued him him for invasion of privacy and trespassing.
"The problem is this allows you to track you them every second of the day everywhere you go,” Atkins' lawyer, Chuck Bachman, told Inside Edition.
The case went to trial, and the jury sided with Echols, a frustrating blow for Atkins.
Despite the jury’s decision, Atkins insisted the law should be changed to allow only police with a search warrant the ability to track people without their knowledge.
"Everybody has a right to their privacy," she said.
Police are typically required to obtain a search warrant before they can place a GPS device on someone’s car.
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