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Police chases may soon become a thing of the past

Published On: Jan 30 2013 03:16:21 PM CST
Updated On: Jan 17 2013 08:07:08 PM CST
PALM SPRINGS, Cali. -

 Glass still lingers on the driveway of John Ellis, where his car was broken into and stolen Monday night in Palm Springs.
     "I guess it was about 9:40, I heard my car start," John told us. "It didn't click right away you know, and I thought about it. It took me about 5 minutes to look out the window and really check. And it was gone."
     John quickly called 9-1-1 and then OnStar, which luckily is installed in his SUV. After OnStar verified John's identity and collaborated with police, they were able to track the vehicle and activate its stolen vehicle slowdown feature. As it turns out, they might have waited a minute too long.
     "They were going to shut the vehicle down, but I guess they shut it down a little late," John said. "Because, according to the officers the gentlemen that stole the car jumped out while it was still going, and my car wound up continuing on and off the road, over a berm, and into a citrus grove."
     Onstar has helped track and recover over 60,000 stolen vehicles since 1996. It began installing this vehicle slow down feature in 2009 and although customers have the ability to opt out of that function, it still can be a controversial issue.
     Lu Cunningham is an OnStar customer as well. She told us, "I never want to go on any long distance without OnStar. I don't like the idea of being tracked, like I said I don't like being tracked but I do like having it available to me."
     John's car did suffer a moderate amount of damage, but he recovered almost all of his belongings. As for sacrificing privacy for security, you can probably guess where he stands.
     "Sometimes you need to do what you need to do to get the criminals, that's fine."