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GPS Tracking Device Helps Nab Kitchen Cabinet Thieves

The cabinets of a brand new home in Lathrop may have looked bare, but inside was a big surprise.

Crooks who stole the cabinets Monday night were surprised as well when officers from the San Joaquin County Sheriff's Department showed up to arrest them.

Inside those cabinets was a GPS tracking device that led detectives straight to the stolen goods.

"The tracking device got us to within about 50 feet of the location of the actual stuff. That presented us with a couple of houses to look at and at one of the houses, one of our offices saw a subject moving a brand new refrigerator towards the back of the house so that was enough for us to focus our investigation," said deputy Steve Pease.

Pease was on patrol Tuesday night in the KB Homes development where the crooks stole the cabinets along with appliances. "Stoves, microwaves, cabinets. Full, not just like a single cabinet but a full wall of cabinets. Washers, dryers, all of these types of appliances that you would expect to have in a new home," Pease said.

Of the 28 pieces stolen, Pease say officers recovered 20 from the home on east 4th Street where the crooks were storing the goods in the home's back yard.

Neighbors weren't surprised to hear there may have been illegal activity going on. "At first we thought they were moving in and out, then we didn't know", said Tricia Marlow. "We thought they were chopping cars, or selling drugs. It didn't seem right. It was too busy for this neighborhood, way too busy".

Pease says the GPS tracking device that cornered the thieves is so small crooks don't notice it. "As small as a cell phone and if you hide it somewhere inside of an appliance or something like that where it's not readily seen then it's easy to conceal," he said.

Deputies arrested seven people. More arrests are expected. However detectives believe the bust will put a significant dent in construction site thefts in Lathrop.