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OnStar helps lead police to stolen cars
BEAUMONT-By: Leslie Rangel
Twice in the past week, law enforcement officers have caught auto thieves with help from a device that guides them toward the vehicle and the criminals.
Investigators say the equipment can help, but so can something you don't have to pay for, awareness and common sense.
If you have the OnStar product their greeting may sound familiar to you.
Anthony Toups, the general manager of Classic Chevrolet, says he knows first hand how OnStar helps.
It helped him recover an SUV that was stolen from his dealership
"We call OnStar with the police and OnStar is able to tell them the vehicle is in Orange within a matter of minutes," Toups says.
It also led police to the people who are accused of stealing these Camaros from Louisiana, officers caught them Tuesday.
"It's a whole lot easier to know where a car is versus letting all the officers know that we're looking for it and they're out there trying to find it," Detective Roger Ross with the Southeast Texas Auto Task Force says.
Investigators say once someone steals a car, it can open the door to other crimes.
"Theft is a gateway crime, a lot of other crimes are committed after the car is stolen," Ross said.
Officers say the suspects in Tuesday's chase planned to take the Camaros to a chop shop in Houston.
After that, they're not sure where the thieves planned to go.
"They steal the car for transportation and to hide their identity, then they go by and do a drive by shooting, narcotics or whatever they want to do," Ross said.
Ross says even if the thieves never commit other crimes, just the act of stealing a car affects not only the criminal, but you.
"Insurance companies are businesses, they're in the business to make money, not lose money, so when they start having a lot of claims in auto thefts, well then, pretty soon they start raising everyone else's rates to cover their losses," Ross said.
It's a loss car dealers say you might be able to prevent through the OnStar device or something that doesn't cost a cent, increased awareness.
Investigators say it's important to lock your car, take your keys with you and hide your belongings.
If you don't have a General Motors car, check out our full list of other makes and models that OnStar can support.