GPS leads to recovery of missing car

Technology, the power of social media and a GPS tracking device helped a group of Ballarat residents track down their car on Tuesday night.

Benjamin Francis says his friend contacted police after his car disappeared while parked in Victoria Park on Tuesday evening. After contacting police, Mr Francis decided to post an image of the vehicle on social media.

“It went nuts, it was shared and we got a lot of anonymous tip-offs from residents who had seen the car,” Mr Francis said. 

After driving around in search of the vehicle Mr Francis turned to another from of technology – GPS tracking. 

“There was an old phone in the car and we tracked that,” Mr Francis said. 

They allegedly found the car in Creswick and police later recovered it. Mr Francis said technology had largely contributed to the recovery of the vehicle. 

“Without social media we would not have found the car,” Mr Francis said. 

Tech expert Chris Riddell said this highlighted an explosion in the number of people installing home security systems and GPS tracking devices.

 He says the advent of cheap, easily accessible technology has made home security affordable and easy to use. 

“We’ve got a couple of factors (leading to the rise) the proliferation of technology which is now everywhere and it’s so cheap,” Mr Riddell said.

He said while vehicle tracking had been around for quite a long time, in Australia it has historically been used by companies to track trucks and taxis, he said. 

“What we’ve seen in the last few years is the same technology being made available to people at home to put into cars with the purpose of retrieving stolen vehicles,” Mr Riddell said.

“The technology has still been very expensive – expensive to install,  the devices need to have power, sometimes the installation has voided car warranties.

There have been lots of challenges from a consumer's perspective.” Mr Riddell said the technology was becoming increasingly accessible and a feature included in many new cars.