When a ring of thieves broke into a Windsor, Conn., warehouse on New Year's Day, they thought they were home free. Everything had gone according to plan. No alarms went off; no security guards showed up. And because they had made sure the (previously stolen) delivery truck they were using was clear of security devices, they weren't expecting any trouble. But as they were loading their haul ($300,000 worth of high-end men's apparel), the Connecticut State Police and South Windsor Police Department burst onto the scene and apprehended them.
The appearance of law enforcement officers on the scene wasn't just luck; it was the culmination of a sophisticated months-long sting operation. After a string of thefts in the Northeast, the N.J. State Police's Cargo Theft Unit had identified a group of known thieves as suspects. The troopers were able to recruit an informant within the group. When the time was right, a tiny MiniBOSS cargo-tracking device was inserted covertly in the informant's jacket. It was via the MiniBOSS that the N.J. State Police were able to track the gang's location with pinpoint accuracy as they made their way from New Jersey to Connecticut, whether they were on the open road or inside the warehouse.
Normally used to locate freight, the MiniBOSS is an asset tracker designed to be tucked into valuable or sensitive shipments, where it can be activated in an emergency to beam real-time location data. Made by Bulldog Technologies Inc. of Richmond, British Columbia, the MiniBOSS, which measures 4 by 3 by 2 inches and weighs 6 ounces, is both compact and portable. Because it uses a cellular-based AGPS (Assisted Global Positioning System), the device doesn't need to "see the sky" to determine location, which means it can operate in places that traditional GPS cannot. The unit is designed to work in conjunction with the Bulldog Security Gateway, a proprietary automatic vehicle location software program that lets users track a load's (or an informant's!) movement using a standard PC.