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Where are we going?

Today, I'm on something of a vacation. Sure, it's Saturday and every Saturday should be a vacation day, but as a single founder, you realize that working 9-5 just isn't enough when you're flying solo. I'm actually headed to upstate New York to visit family.

Last fall, I bought a Garmin Nuvi 660 GPS to help me when I travel. I was spending a lot of time on the road in places I'd never been before and having a GPS was going to be well worth the money. I did my homework and bought one that got a lot of good reviews. Not to mention it was a top of the line model when I bought it so I felt it would last me a while.

This morning, I went out to my car to get my GPS, as we're taking my wife's car to New York. Two words... not there. Between last Wednesday and this morning, someone stole the GPS out of my car.

I know what you're thinking. I'm an idiot for leaving it in my car to begin with. In my defense, I typically lock my car and the car has not only an alarm system, but has Lojack installed as well. To me, this would make it pretty secure, right? Unfortunately, this past two weeks, my car alarm has been sort of flaking out on me. It doesn't always arm, nor does the remote always seem to work. I've been meaning to have it looked at but have been so busy that I haven't made the time. Talk about a costly mistake!

I'm going to file a police report, check to see if it's covered by my insurance in any way, shape or form, and check a few local pawn shops. The genius who stole it didn't bother to take the charger/mounting unit that was also in my car, already plugged in and mounted on the windshield. So, not only have I had the GPS stolen, it's basically useless to whomever took it.

I had pretty much my whole trip planned around using the GPS. I was going to use it to get to my hotel, a few restaurants, etc. I know the area, but I'm staying in Syracuse and I'm not nearly as familiar with Syracuse as I am with Rochester. Before leaving the house this morning, I had to furiously print out a few maps of a couple places to be able to find the hotel and a restaurant that we plan on going to.

Fortunately, there is backup technology. As I write this blog entry, I'm cruising along at around 65 + 0x0A mph on the Masspike headed west(my wife is driving), compliments of the Verizon mobile broadband card that I got last month. I already checked and I can pull up Google Maps and use it just as if I were back in my office. I just need to be a bit careful of the battery life, since it's only charged about 40%. I probably wouldn't have brought it, except that without the GPS, I needed to be able to find stuff and the hotel I'm staying at offers wireless internet.

I had originally been concerned about the 5GB arbitrary limit placed on my broadband access, but I've found that if I avoid doing downloads and use it primarily to stay connected and in emergencies, then it's not a big deal. It would be hard to hit 5GB of transfer in a single month just looking at email and browsing most web pages.

I think I'd feel worse about it if I'd paid for it out of my own pocket, but it was a corporate purchase. I don't really have any experience with theft, but at least I'm in the good company of Eric Sink, who had two Mac Mini's stolen from him at TechEd a few years ago.

Eric's story: link1
Eric's story: link2

His story reminds me every time I fly to not put anything electronic that I might need in my luggage. I guess I'll stop leaving it in my car as well.

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# re: Where are we going?

Hi Mike,

My friend rented a car from AVIS and his GPS got stolen on Sunday. He had taken all the possible insurance coverages form AVIS almost about 40 $ a day he paid for the insurance. Some sucker stole the GPS system and the rental company syas that the GPS was not covered in the insurance. Even the LDW which ideally covers theft did not cover the GPS system. My firend is having to pay some $700 for the streetsmart c550. Any workarounds you have in mind for this issue? 5/9/2007 12:42 AM | Shruti Majithia
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# re: Where are we going?

Unfortunately, no. I was told by the police when I filed my report that it was unlikely to show up. They said that if someone got $5 for it, they'd probably be happy they made something off of it and didn't get caught. My car insurance wouldn't cover it because the GPS was not a permanent fixture on the car itself. I could file a claim with my homeowners insurance, but since it's a house, my deductable is so high that I would likely only get $100-$200 out of it, and it's a LOT of paperwork, I'm sure.

I'm checking with local pawn shops, but I think I'm pretty much screwed. Sorry to hear that happened to your friend. It's a sickening feeling, more so for him I'm sure because he bought all that insurance.

If they charge his credit card for the GPS, he could theoretically do a chargeback. I think this would force AVIS to prove that he was responsible for it, as opposed to telling him that he is. The people at the front desk and who manage the places probably don't have a lot of experience with that sort of thing, but corporate AVIS probably does.

Unless he files a police report, they're going to claim that he could have stolen it, thus paying a mere $40/day for a $700 GPS. Without a police report, there's no official record of a theft.

I'm not a lawyer, and this shouldn't be taken as legal advice, but I would file a police report. If they charge his credit card, do a chargeback and wait it out. They will have to prove he is responsible for those charges in the eyes of the credit card company. If he took out every type of insurance they had and it still wasn't covered, they're going to have a hard time selling that to the credit card company. They might check their paperwork and find that the employee who explained his responsibility was wrong, or they might not want to deal with the hassle of the paperwork with the credit card company.

At the very least, he's likely to be responsible for some sort of deductable and will probably have to pay a few hundred bucks no matter what. I think most policies have a minimum deductable of $500, but that depends on the state that you live in and the insurance level you signed up for.

Again, not legal advice. Just what I would think about. 5/9/2007 9:35 AM | Mike Taber

# re: Where are we going?

I just got my GPS ripped off on September 10th. I live in Greece. I too filed a police report - the officer said they probably wont find it.

These people come in from the city by going through backyards. They hop fences until they make it to their target street. Then they go around and loot where possible. Our street doesn't have street lights! Damn it!

I had a Garmin C330 and I loved it. They too forgot to take the power cord, like morons. Eventually the battery will run out and it's useless.

Stupid drug dealing scumbags.

I live about 4 streets away from low income housing in the Rochester City District. I hate it hate it hate it. I want to catch them in the act, because it seems pretty frequent on my street and circle.

I'd call the police and then tackle the pieces of filth.

It's just a good idea to move a bit farther out towards areas like Spencerport. Then the vast majority of criminals wouldn't be in walking distance from their drug houses. 9/11/2007 12:51 AM | David
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# re: Where are we going?

Ouch. I lived in Rochester, NY for 8 years, so I know exactly what you mean. Too close to the bad part of the city and it's pretty awful.

In any case, sorry to hear that your GPS was stolen. The police won't ever find it though. Even if you had a serial number, you've only got a slight chance of ever seeing it again. The police have better things to do with their time than try to find out if every item that came out of a drug raid was reported stolen. Well, maybe not better things to do, but other things to do. I still want my GPS back. :( 9/11/2007 1:10 PM | Mike Taber
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# re: Where are we going?

Ah, just became engaged on Friday, had our first engaged couples dance at a wedding then when we woke up the next morning, the windows on my jeep were shattered and the GPS was gone. Filed a police report and called insurance to file a claim. I can't wait to hear my insurance company who charges $100/month tell me that they won't cover the GPS. 12/14/2008 3:55 PM | Tovis Bratsburg

# re: Where are we going?

My GPS was just stolen under similar circumstances, except they were smart enough to take the mounting unit and car charger. My remote is also on the fritz. Good thing I didn't have to pay for damages to the car I guess?? 1/11/2009 12:19 AM | MB

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