DOUGLASVILLE, Ga. -- Buzz Lightyear to the rescue!
Police are crediting an action figure of the Toy Story character with helping them catch a theft suspect in Douglas County. Or rather, the GPS tracker inside of the toy.
For the last two years, Mid-Atlantic Clothing (MAC) Recycling, a Maryland-based organization that collects and sells used clothes for people in need, has noticed an increasing amount of thefts in the Atlanta area.
The company places donation bins in parking lots of shopping centers, churches and other areas around the city. Left unattended for much of the day and night, territory manager Tim Peck quickly realized their goods were being stolen.
"Our donations were down, and down a lot, as much as 35 percent," Peck told 11Alive's Blayne Alexander. "It's tens of thousands of dollars if not more. It's a lot of money."
To curb the thefts, Peck started hiding GPS trackers inside of the items, including a stuffed Buzz Lightyear toy at a drop location in Douglasville. Last week, he received notification in the middle of the night that Buzz was on the move. After calling Douglasville police, the device took officers straight to Everette Barton.
"There was a pickup truck in the driveway, backed up to the garage," he said. "He was unloading bags of our clothing into his garage. He looked like he was sorting them."
Barton was arrested and all of the donations recovered. Peck says there are nearly 100 more hidden GPS trackers floating around the city, placed with hopes of catching and deterring future criminals.