DES MOINES, Iowa (WHO) — As more cases of people placing GPS trackers on someone’s property keep popping up, state lawmakers are noticing. That’s why there are bills in both the Iowa House and Senate to crack down on the behavior.
The bills, which are companion bills, would make placing a GPS tracker on someone or their property without their consent or a “legitimate purpose” its own separate crime. Currently, many cases are charged as stalking. The first offense would be a serious misdemeanor carrying up to a year in jail. All subsequent offenses would be aggravated misdemeanors that carry up to two years in prison.
“What we’ve seen is, is the behavior continue. So the current laws are there and it’s not enough to really deter the behavior that we’re looking for. So what we’re hoping is by increasing the possibilities of jail time and even prison time, that will be enough of a deterrent to stop it,” said State Rep. Sean Bagniewski, (D), District 35 from Des Moines.
The bills would also have increased penalties for illegally tracking minors with a GPS device. The first offense would be an aggravated misdemeanor and all subsequent offenses would be felonies. Parents using the devices would remain legal.