Stolen Car Recovered, Florida BHPH Dealer Says “Thank You, Skypatrol!”
It’s not every day that a Buy Here Pay Here (BHPH) collections manager becomes a temporary law enforcement dispatcher, directing police cars and a helicopter in pursuit of a stolen car. But that’s what happened one afternoon to Monica Borodi, Account Manager at Creel Motors, a three-location BHPH dealership in St. Petersburg, Florida.
“I had a geofence set around the car that had been sitting in one location all day. When it triggered, I called the local police department and the chase began. Thank you Skypatrol!” said Borodi afterwards.
The story began when the boyfriend of a previously problem-free customer, who had fallen two payments behind, called Creel to say that their car had been stolen two days earlier. They hadn’t yet reported the theft to police, so it would be another day before Borodi received the police report number and could begin working with law enforcement herself.
She used Skypatrol’s Defender software to locate the vehicle at a repair shop, which raised her concern that the car had been damaged, and called the police for that jurisdiction to tell them where they could find the car. While she waited for officers to respond and recover the car, Borodi created a geofence to alert her in case the vehicle moved.
A short time later, Borodi says, “I was alerted that it breached the geofence! And it’s driving! It left the other city’s jurisdiction. So I called Pinellas County Sheriff’s Department.”
As this agency sprang into action, Borodi stayed on the line, tracking the car for them. “I spent about an hour on the phone with their communications department, giving them locations — ‘He just took a left on this street. Ooh, hang on, he stopped. Oop, he’s at a red light.’ — For an hour, I’m just pinging the GPS and getting solid hits one after another. You could look at the report and see.”
When the car stopped at a red light, Pinellas County deputies — with a helicopter circling overhead — moved in to make the arrest and recover the undamaged vehicle without incident. News reports of the theft and arrest even mentioned the role of GPS tracking in aiding law enforcement.
Borodi says Creel has tried other GPS systems in the seven years she’s been with the dealership, “But because of the features that they lacked, I consistently went back to Skypatrol.”