FREDERICK -- Yesterday, city police, responding to a "theft in progress" call in the 700 block of Monarch Ridge Drive in the Monarch Ridge community, arrested four teenage boys in the process of stealing global positioning systems, radios, cell phones and iPods from motor vehicles, said a police spokesman.
Bill Douwes, the spokesman, said theft of devices such as a GPS have become an organized regional criminal undertaking, adding the youths arrested were from Montgomery and Prince George's counties.
He said an investigation was under way to determine whether the suspects were part of a gang preying on vehicles containing electronic devices.
In a statement, Kim C. Dine, chief of the Frederick Police Department said, "This type of property crime is becoming prevalent throughout the country."
Dine cautioned motorists not to leave anything of value in plain view inside a vehicle.
Last week, Howard County Police reported 179 GPS units had been stolen there this year, more than twice the number in all of 2006.
Baltimore City police reported more such thefts in certain districts, including downtown.
In Baltimore County, 95 GPS units have been stolen since July 31. "They're popular, they're portable and they're profitable," said Bill Toohey, a spokesman for the Baltimore County police.