Local man creates device to fight tour van, equipment theft

The device and accompanying app can help find stolen gear.

ST. LOUIS - Bands are getting ripped off as they make tour stops in the St. Louis area, causing some acts to pass over the city all together.

Now, there's new technology designed by a local man that could help police find the stolen equipment.

Live music fan Jesse Caron has created a device for musicians he calls the Smart Roadie.  He's made it so musicians can keep their items secure through one click of an app.

Back In 2015, Atlanta Based group Radio Birds had their van and equipment stolen after performing in Creve Coeur. 

"He said the van wasn't there, which we all thought was a joke and then we quickly realized it wasn't," Radio Birds musician Justin Keller said.

Their vehicle and items were discovered and returned days later. Still, the artists say crimes like these leave personal scars

"Not only are you making you're living with it but you're also making your art with it," Keller said.

The Radio Birds are not alone.

"There's tours and artists just completely bypassing St. Louis in general and it's important for me to keep them coming here," Jesse said.

Caron recently created a solution to stop the recent rash of tour van burglaries.  It's through the Smart Roadie, security tool he created for musicians that will make criminals think twice.

"As they play the show or as they're in the studio or wherever they are it acts as a tuner now as soon as they leave the venue it becomes a GPS unit," Caron said.

It's built for string instruments, but it's not your average tuner. When equipment is not in use, it's programmed from a smart phone app to keep track of band equipment and vehicles.

"If we're able to deter people from stealing, great but if we're able to just at least save a couple of bands from going through the hassle of losing everything they've built up over their whole lives that's important to me," he said.

Jesse said the Smart Roadie is still in the beginning stages but his device will be available on line by end of the year.

He said the gadgets will cost around $150 a piece.


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