Indy woman finds cut-off GPS monitor on bridge, raises questions about system


INDIANAPOLIS — An Indianapolis woman raises concerns after finding a cut-off GPS monitor in her neighborhood.

Elizabeth, who did not want to provide her last name, said seeing the GPS monitor and related equipment discarded on the bridge over the Crooked Creek on the city’s northwest side surprised her as she took a walk Sunday evening.

“The band itself was cut at an angle with something that appeared to have been very sharp,” Elizabeth said. “When we got it home, of course, we’re going to plug in the battery and it immediately started flashing green on the side of the monitor.”

Elizabeth said she noticed an 800 number on the device, and she called it. It went to the BI Incorporated company.

“It was a recording from a company in Colorado that suggested that I mail the monitor and everything to them,” Elizabeth explained.

She called the number again as our cameras rolled. The line connected to a mailbox that did not work, and instructed her to drop off the monitor in a P.O. box.

“You have called the BI return center number,” Elizabeth said. “This line will not accept voice messages. To receive the reward, please return the found equipment to PO box 111.”

Elizabeth said she had no interest in the reward, rather raising awareness of a cut-off GPS monitor laying in the road. She then called the non-emergency number for help.

“I called back again 311, got a different person this time, and when she answered and I described the situation, she said well who do you want to speak to,” I said, ‘I don’t know who I’m supposed to speak to.'”

Ultimately, an IMPD officer came to her home and took the monitor.

We learned the GPS device belonged to BI Incorporated, which is the vendor for the juvenile justice system in Marion County. The Marion Superior Court emailed us this statement, stating all of the devices they monitor are accounted for:

“Our Probation Department’s Community Adjustment Team is confident that the device in the photograph is not one issued from our program.  That team provides attentive around-the-clock monitoring of each device issued, and the youth who are being monitored.  They confirmed that all of our devices are accounted for.  We also do not put our devices in bubble wrap, like the one in the photograph.  The monitoring device we use is also being used in 48 states and locally in Johnson, Hendricks, and Hamilton counties. “

The department said there are currently 51 young people wearing these monitoring devices. Youth can be placed on monitoring before or after trial, for a variety of offenses, “without any specific restrictions.”

If a device in Marion County is removed, the Community Adjustment Team files a violation of release with the court. After that, the case is referred to the prosecutor’s office for a potential Escape charge.

The courts said officers will go to the last known location of the device to gather it and more information about the possible location of the young person.

We are still investigating who this discarded device belongs to and to which agency. We are also working to understand how someone could easily remove the monitor.

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