Kristen Thompson for metro vancouver


Bruce Funk demonstrates his stolen-car tracking system.

Bruce Funk’s job is a mix between hide and seek, the hot and cold game, and Grand Theft Auto.

The Vancouver-based security consultant tracks, and with the assistance of police, retrieves stolen cars.

According to Statistics Canada, Vancouver has one of the highest per capita rates of auto theft, more than 53 per cent higher than the national average.

“It’s an adrenalin rush,” said Funk, who works with Boomerang Tracking, a Montreal-based vehicle tracking company.

“It can be very annoying if the person is driving around. But when you get close to them, oh boy.”

The company uses small tracking devices that are hidden in cars and silently activated when a vehicle is reported stolen.

Local trackers use GPS-like equipment to follow the car based on the strength of signals communicated between the car and cell towers.

Funk said he once tracked the signal of a stolen Escalade to Kitsilano where he spotted the vehicle in transit and called the police. Suddenly cop cars descended upon the car and blocked it off in a laneway from either end.

“It was like watching the Snowbirds doing their performance,” said Funk.

Craig Armstrong, general manger for Boomerang Tracking, said silent, hidden anti-theft devices make it easier to catch thieves as soon as a car is stolen.

He added that the faster a stolen car is retrieved the less likely it is the car will have been stripped or damaged.