INDIANAPOLIS — Millie Park was being watched. Her abusive ex-boyfriend, Ronnie McClure, had repeatedly violated a protective order and he seemingly always knew exactly where Parke was.
In the space of a week there was a series of incidents reported to IMPD. Parke’s car was keyed while she was inside a Mexican restaurant on the city’s west side. While working at the CityWay building, McClure just showed-up unannounced. The final straw for Parke was when she received texts describing the contents of a trash can at the home of her daughter, while Parke was visiting.
Fearing for her safety, Parke packed a bag, grabbed her two dogs and started driving east into Hancock County. Her plan was to get out of sight for a few days at a hotel somewhere unfamiliar to McClure. She just needed to make one stop at a gas station in Greenfield.
“I let my dogs out to go potty and I got on Priceline found a hotel that allowed dogs and booked it,” said Parke.
Parke returned to her car with her dogs. Moments later, surveillance cameras at the gas station spotted a vehicle driven by McClure speeding through the parking lot, then ramming Parke’s parked car.
“I’m freaking out. I’m trying to reverse it,“ said Parke, “by then he was already there. He was already punching me.”
McClure was throwing punches through an open window. Parke quickly scrambled into the passenger to avoid McClure, but he climbed in behind the wheel and began stabbing Parke. Then, McClure began driving away with Parke still inside the car. As the vehicle made a turn around the building, the passenger door opened and Parke fell to the pavement. It took emergency surgery to repair a puncture wound to her heart.
Parke survived, but an awful question lingered. How did McClure know precisely where Parke was that night?
The answer was found attached to the underside of Parke’s car: a GPS tracking device, planted there by McClure.
“It was chilling,” said Hancock County prosecutor Brent Eaton, “That’s how he was aware of where she was going and what she was doing.”
GPS Devices: Are they legal?
The devices are cheap. SpyTec offers one for just $60. That includes the GPS device and a protective case with strong magnets making it easy to attach to a car. Then, all that’s required is to link the device to a cellular network and download a free app to your smart phone.
Set-up time takes just minutes. From that moment forward every time the device senses movement there is an alert to the app followed by real-time updates on location, speed and time. When the device senses the vehicle stopping, a picture is sent to the app noting the location.
SpyTec insists users should only place devices on their own property.
But FOX59 has found that even if GPS tracking devices are misused, like in Millie Parke‘s case, it’s not against the law in Indiana.
That was confirmed by State Senator Liz Brown, “There’s no crime right now. If somebody just started dropping these in people’s cars and handbags. There’s nothing that I can find or our staff could find currently that makes it illegal.”
Brown is an attorney and the Chair of the State Senate Judiciary Committee. In a recent interview with the State Senator, FOX59 showed the GPS device we purchased, the detailed data it produced and how it was misused by McClure to hunt down Parke.
“No one should ever be able to do that without the owner’s permission,” said Senator Brown.
And during the interview, Brown announced she was ready to take legislative action.
Brown said, “I’ve already asked staff to look into drafting legislation to address this because nobody should be able to do this. I appreciate you bringing it to my attention, and if you hadn’t brought it to me, I wouldn’t have looked at pursing legislation. So, thank you.”
The State Senator says a bill outlawing the planting of GPS devices on other people’s property will be a priority when 2023 legislative session begins in January.