How a GPS Tracker Conquered an ORC Ring

  |   Blog, EAS, GPS Asset Protection, ORC


uss_gps-trailThere was a knock on the door. It was the police. Inside the house, the members of an organized retail crime (ORC) ring couldn’t believe how quickly they were tracked down. Their downfall was brought on by the GPS tracking device (made by USS) hidden inside a handbag they just stole from a local retailer. Tracking the handbag’s movement with Google Maps, the store’s LP team was able to lead police to its exact location, and enough evidence was recovered to arrest and prosecute the shoplifting group.


GPS tracking technology has become retail’s new ally in the fight against organized theft. As the technology has evolved, GPS tracking devices have become increasing smaller, making them easier to conceal inside a variety of merchandise. The tracking systems allow LP teams to easily set up a “geofence” (a defined area where the item is supposed to be), and get email or text notifications if the item breaches the geofence.


Once the item leaves the place where it’s supposed to be, the LP team can track its movement using Google Maps via computer, tablet or smartphone. More advanced GPS trackers have adjustable frequency of notification; more frequent pings use up the battery quicker, and being able to manually change the frequency is important in order to prolong the battery life and track the item longer.


Did you know that USS offers GPS tracking systems for retail loss prevention as well as fleet management? Click here to learn more.

In addition to being able to track the stolen item to the ORC ring’s base of operations, GPS tracking systems also provide chain-of-custody data needed to prosecute later. Electronic “breadcrumbs” are recorded, showing the item’s path of travel from the store to its ultimate location.


The most advanced GPS trackers don’t use just GPS signals to pinpoint their location – they also use secondary signals, such as from Wi-Fi or cellular networks. This is important in dense urban areas, such as New York or San Francisco, where tall buildings can decrease GPS accuracy. Thanks to the use of the secondary signals, these advanced GPS devices can accurately pinpoint their locations not just on a map, but even report a specific floor or a room within a building.


GPS technology has proven itself many times over in military, consumer and fleet management applications. As more retailers embrace its full benefits, it promises to transform the world of loss prevention too. ORC ring now have a lot more to fear – that every item they steal might have a hidden tracker inside. And that the police will come knocking at the door quicker than ever before.