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How Technology Can Help Police Track Down Stolen Vehicles

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) -- Technology is helping investigators track down stolen cars. Carjackings are skyrocketing in Minneapolis.

There were 104 of them in Minneapolis back in 2019, 401 last year, and this year there have been 574.

The rise in carjackings means a rise in business at Mach 1 Car Audio & Security.

"We've probably put in 50-100 in the last year, GPS tracking systems, if not more," general manager Brent Kummer said.

Thursday night, Minneapolis police said two young men robbed a woman at gunpoint and stole her Tesla in the Lowry Hill neighborhood. They later tracked down the vehicle and recovered the gun in south Minneapolis.

"It was interesting to see how quickly they were able to recover the car," Maple Grove resident and Tesla owner Brandon Doyle said.

Tesla's built-in tracking system is just one perk for Doyle, who also set up a pin code to start his car and make it more difficult for thieves to steal.

"With the app, I can see where the car is exactly, see how fast it's moving, if it's parked," Doyle said. "I can actually disable some of the features remotely. I can access the horn, the windows, and some of those controls."

If you are a victim of a carjacking, the Minneapolis Police Department says to let the carjackers have the vehicle and don't try to chase them down because it's not worth your life.

For cars without built-in GPS, places like Mach 1 Car Audio & Security can install one for you for about $300. They can also add a hidden start button in your car.

"So you still have to start the car the old fashioned way, whether it's a key or push-to-start car, but now we have a separate button you have to press and hold, and only you know where that button is," Kummer said.

Other tracking devices may require batteries, like Apple's Air Tag, a small device you can put anywhere to track, although it may be limited by distance and network.

"Hopefully with the technology we offer or that other company's offer there are some solutions that can make you feel more secure and hopefully get your car back," Kummer said.

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