back to article GPS cyberstalking of girlfriend brings surveillance and indictment for alleged American mobster

Joseph Amato's attempt to surveil his girlfriend by attaching a hidden GPS device to her car led authorities to surveil the alleged mobster, and ultimately to his indictment by a grand jury. Amato, said to be a captain in the Colombo organized crime family of La Cosa Nostra, was among 20 defendants charged by the Justice …

  1. Chris G


    What kind of mafia kingpin uses a tracking device that is legally registered to him?

    My mate's ten year old son would know not to do that.

    1. Mark 85

      Re: Doh!

      He's probably "old school" and still believes Google doesn't track either.

    2. sbt


      It seems these wise guys develop overconfidence from their strong network of family and crony connections, as well as the feelings of superiority and control over the public and LEAs that develops over extended periods of "getting away with it". They let their guard down and the LEAs can just scoop them up.

      Of course there's a bias towards dumb in the ones that are stupid enough to get caught. The smart ones, you don't even feel the sting.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Hubris

        "The smart ones, you don't even feel the sting."

        Bears repeating.

  2. Robert Moore

    Two questions

    How do you hide a GLS tracker INSIDE an oil pan? How would the girlfriend have access to the oil pan on a city bus?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Two questions

      Girlfriend = bus mechanic Does Not Compute?

      My question would be what is the likelihood of a GPS tracker actually getting a useable signal in an oil pan. If it wasn’t intended to, then why not just bin it?

      1. Stuart Castle Silver badge

        Re: Two questions

        Maybe because binning it would mean it only makes one more journey: To the dump. It would look suspicious if he checked it and she only made one journey. At least being attached to a bus, it moves around for a few days while she can arrange a potential escape.

    2. This post has been deleted by its author

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Two questions

        Perhaps the girlfriend was a bus driver? :-)

        1. david 12 Silver badge

          Re: Two questions

          Or perhaps it's just a normal factual error. The GF stuck the tracker under a bus, and when the MTA discovered it, they traced it back to the boyfriend, who then admitted to placing it on the GF.

    3. JohnG

      Re: Two questions

      It would seem more likely that she attached the device to the outside of the oil pan- it would be easier to do, the device would probably still work and it would likely be found when the bus was next serviced.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    'almost romanticized by Hollywood'

    Look at the names of producers and directors and you'll understand why. And that's what mafias look for.

  4. John Savard

    Cause for Celebration

    Well, whatever; it's a great event when the police get a break that lets them successfully investigate organized crime.

  5. Blockchain commentard

    "Sweeney, assistant director-in-charge of the FBI." Good to see the Sweeney is still after the bad guys (Google John Thaw if you're under 50).

    1. Halfmad

      50? More like 40.. Many fond memories of watching the show with my parents!

  6. SIP My Drink

    I Know Who Did It Your Honor

    Anthony Silvestro (28, aka "Bugz").

    'Nuff Said...

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Oil get you Butler!

    OK, don't pan me!

  8. BebopWeBop

    One good act....

    The laws of unintended consequence bite hard. Although being a suspicious bugger I wonder whether this was the excuse that got the law enforcement warrants approved? Not complaining though.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    American Justice?

    Having seen some American Justice, I'd say the it's likely that they'd merely get a slap on the wrist, be told not to get caught next time, and be given back their GPS tracker

    1. Alan Douglas

      Re: American Justice?

      Because America doesn't send people to prison?

    2. DreamEater

      Re: American Justice?

      Are you kidding?

      Usually if you run a red light you face 20 years inside, because the red light was in one county, and as you went through you ended up in another, thus making it federal.

      They also seem to think that’s reasonable!

      Whereas, the UK, caught 5 times with an illegal knife, stabs someone on the 6th. Gets a suspended 2yr sentence and a £15 victim surcharge. All other costs are picked up by us as they’ve never worked a day in their life.

      1. Maty

        Re: American Justice?

        'Usually if you run a red light you face 20 years inside, because the red light was in one county, and as you went through you ended up in another, thus making it federal.'

        er ... what? Leaving aside that traffic lights are not 'usually' at county boundaries, and crossing counties does not make it a federal rather than state offence, running a light is a traffic violation rather than a crime.

        A search of the net (I was bored and waiting for a phone call, okay?) revealed only one such draconian punishment, and the drunk who ran the light killed a mother and two children, making the 20 years rather generous IMHO.

        So unless you can produce a reference for this hyperbole, I'm going to suggest you are blowing smoke.

        1. Robert Helpmann??

          Re: American Justice?

          er ... what? ... unless you can produce a reference for this hyperbole, I'm going to suggest you are blowing smoke.

          Do not engage! I repeat: do not engage! Nothing to see here. Move along. Move along.

    3. phuzz Silver badge

      Re: American Justice?

      Well that all depends on how much money the criminal has doesn't it?

      To pluck a couple of examples from last week, rich couples get a slap on the wrists for trying to bribe colleges into giving their children places, while a poor single mother gets put into prison for lying about where she lived, so her kid could go to a safer school.

      Of course, I say it's all down to money, and of course the rich couples are white, and the poor woman is black, but that would involve America examining it's entrenched racism, and I think we'll have to wait another hundred years before they're capable of doing that.

  10. tiggity Silver badge

    Tracker details?

    A decent tracker (that broadcasts position frequently) needs to be wired into the vehicle so it can top up its rechargeable battery, so non trivial to add, but would not be findable by the casual user.

    Those that just rely on their own battery (not wired in) face conflict of how often to send position updates - if a device sleeps most of the time and only occasionally awakes to send a position record then battery life extended a lot, but frequent updates hammer battery life.

    Assuming tracker with SIM card that sends data "back to base", less power hungry trackers do not transmit via cell network but store data on SD card, but you need to retrieve SD card to view the data.

    .. Of course, crim could have had someone periodically replace batteries on a non wired in model, but and so had good position granularity, but massively increases chance of being caught fiddling with the vehicle.

  11. Danny 2

    Daniel Capaldo (54, aka "The Wig" and "Shrek")

    That is abusive, he should sue for the hostile work environment. The Mafia can be so cruel.

    1. Halfmad

      Re: Daniel Capaldo (54, aka "The Wig" and "Shrek")

      Maybe he has multiple personalities and they are just trying to accommodate ?

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