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GPS tracker fitted in guitar tuner to combat gear thefts

Gigbox hopes tracking device will help recover stolen musical equipment and deter thieves in future

A guitar pedal with a built-in GPS tracking device has been developed to combat thefts of gear from touring bands.

The 'smrt' tuner is the brainchild of Jesse Caron, owner of St Louis, Missouri, based firm Gigbox. He came up with the concept after a spate of thefts in the city in 2014 and 2015. Bands and roadies often returned to their tour bus or van to find their equipment missing and police in the area even stepped up patrols to deal with the problem.

Caron says that he hopes the GPS tracker will not only help recover stolen goods, but also deter thieves from targeting bands in the first place.

Caron tells Riverfront Times: "The GPS tracker will be built into the tuner, and provide pin-point precision on where that pedal is."

Expected to retail at $150 when it is available for sale, the device uses the same technology as the 'find my iPhone' app in the popular Apple mobile phone. It will charge whenever it's connected to a powered pedal board and can hold a charge for up to 10 days.

A prototype will be available in a few weeks and Caron hopes to eventually sell the product across the US. He says: “We want to deal as local as we can. But it’s not just about cleaning up St Louis. It’s about cleaning up the nation.”

Touring equipment being stolen has affected a number of top acts, including Black Stone Cherry, Young Guns and Saxon. And this year, Houston, Texas, was named the “stolen music gear capital of the world” after a string of thefts.

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