In a daring dawn raid thieves made off with nine Audi TT's, stolen from an Audi dealership this September. Unfortunately for the criminals, six of the vehicles, with a combined retail value of £240,000, were fitted with TRACKER systems and were recovered within 24 hours.

In the early hours of the morning, a well prepared gang of crooks popped the sills of a window in the Audi showroom, without triggering the alarm. Gaining entry, one of them crawled across the floor, dodging the infra-red security beams, and took around 60 sets of keys from the storage cabinet.

Retracing his steps, he returned with his spoils to the rest of the gang. It was then a simple process of elimination to find the keys to the nine TT's. One of the gang took a tenth set of keys, those of a brand new Audi A6, which he started up and raced off the dealership’s forecourt. His intention was to smash the bollards that prevent the unauthorised departure of cars from the site. He managed this, writing off the A6 in the process.

As the drivers headed off, they realised that the cars’ petrol tanks were almost empty. The convoy pulled into a garage and proceeded to fill up. This strange sight was enough to alert the garage operator who made sure the bizarre incident was caught on CCTV.

Audi employees arriving for work at around 9am the same day immediately contacted TRACKER. The police found the six cars fitted with TRACKER in Rainham, Essex that afternoon and subsequently made six arrests. Two out of the three vehicles not fitted with TRACKER were found later on, the last one is still missing.

TRACKER is operated by all 52 of the nation’s police forces and approved by 36 motor manufacturers. The electronic homing device, secretly hidden in a vehicle is activated in the event of a theft. Police vehicles fitted with detection equipment can follow the signal emitted by the unit, leading them to the vehicle’s exact location.

TRACKER Retrieve is the entry-level model, requiring the owner to contact TRACKER HQ in the event of a theft. TRACKER Monitor includes a remote sensor, which alerts TRACKER HQ if the vehicle is illegally moved. TRACKER Horizon operates as per Monitor, but incorporates satellite positioning technology as well. TRACKER’s latest model is the TRACKER Echo, which operates across the whole of Europe as well as the UK.

More than 580,000 vehicles in the UK use TRACKER technology. Police have recovered over 12,000 vehicles worth more than £237m since 1993 and made over 1,600 arrests.

Published : 01/11/04 Author : Melanie Carter

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