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GPS helps police find abducted woman

A US woman snatched off the streets has been rescued with the help of a GPS tracking device that had been installed on the suspect’s car by the dealer in case it needed to be repossessed.

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It’s just the latest arrest made possible by the surveillance technology that is seemingly everywhere nowadays.

And it involved not just GPS but surveillance video, traffic-camera imagery and a left-behind mobile phone.

Carlesha Freeland-Gaither, 22, endured a three-day ordeal that ended in Jessup, Maryland, on Wednesday when federal agents surrounded the car and seized the kidnapping suspect, who was lying next to her in the back seat.

The FBI filed a kidnapping charge Thursday night against the man accused of abducting her, Delvin Barnes, 37.

The rescue came after authorities spotted the used-car dealer’s name on a traffic camera photo of Barnes’ vehicle and recognised the dealership as one that routinely puts GPS devices on its cars.

They called the dealership, and within five minutes had the location.

The dealership sells to customers with poor credit and relies on GPS when it needs to find and repossess cars whose owners have fallen behind on the payments.

GPS devices are commonly used by law enforcement authorities around the US to track suspects and make arrests. But often those cases involve devices secretly planted by police.

Though aided by technology, the Philadelphia kidnapping investigation began in a decidedly old-fashioned way: with a witness who saw it happen Sunday night and immediately called police. Police quickly discovered the abduction had been caught on video.

Also, Freeland-Gaither left her mobile phone behind, giving authorities a quick ID.

“We believe she left it for us to find,” said Detective James Sloan.

In the days afterward, police and federal authorities released a stream of images from surveillance cameras of a man using Freeland-Gaither’s ATM card and walking through a gas station minimart in Maryland.

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