10 Unconventional Uses for GPS

Tracking Stolen Prescription Drugs
New York City police rigged dummy bottles of oxcycodone with GPS devices to track supplies stolen from pharmacies. Universal Images Group/Getty Images

Robbers and burglars have been targeting drugstores in an effort to obtain oxycodone, a powerful and addictive painkiller popular on the black market for non-medical use and sold under brand names like OxyContin. In an effort to thwart drug thieves, New York City police came up with a technologically advanced variation on exploding dye packs that are attached to cash banks hand to robbers. The police stocked pharmacies with decoy oxycodone bottles concealing GPS tracking devices, which detectives use to track criminals.

The bottles are weighted and rattle when shaken, so that thieves won't recognize that they contain trackers. "We would anticipate the burglar and robber will take numerous bottles, and among them will be the bait bottle," the police department's chief spokesman, Paul J. Browne, explained to the New York Times in 2013.