MOORE, Okla. - A GPS tracking device found on a state lawmaker's vehicle adds another twist to an ongoing threat investigation.
The Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation said Tuesday agents are investigating a threat against State Rep. Mark McBride, R-Moore, which dates back several months. Last week, the Moore Police Department requested the OSBI take over its investigation after McBride discovered a GPS tracking device on his truck early last month.
"I crawl under the back of my pickup and all of a sudden, there's this little black box, stuck to the bed of my truck," McBride said Tuesday afternoon.
McBride said he was first told that "something" was going on several months back, spurring him to reach out to the OSBI, which handles threats against public officials.
"Why would somebody track you, if you're a legislator? Only thing I can think of is extortion, intimidation, trying to discredit you," said McBride. "And then, after you find something like that, then you start wondering, 'Do they mean me or my family some kind of bodily harm?'"
"It's a real scary deal -- not kind of. It's serious."
Moore Police said it could not release the report McBride filed in December after he discovered the GPS device on his vehicle.
"They had received information on a case we were already looking in to. I asked them if we could adopt their case and they agreed to it," said Steve Tanner, the OSBI Agent-In-Charge.
Tanner wouldn't go in to much detail, but said motions filed by McBride to ID the user of the device has the potential to determine who has been following the representative. An Oklahoma County Judge issued an order earlier this month that McBride can issue a subpoena to US Fleet Trucking to obtain information of who was using the device.
"Is it illegal in the state to place a tracking devices on people's personal property?" I asked Tanner Tuesday.
"It is illegal to molest a standing vehicle and if you do that," said Tanner, "you're committing a crime and you're also committing a crime against the Oklahoma Computer Crimes Act."
Tuesday afternoon, the state Republican party condemned the news of the OSBI investigation, as well as a recent death threat made to House Majority Floor Leader Jon Echols, R-Oklahoma City, and reports of legislators being followed.
"Emotions run high in politics but there is no place for violence and intimidation toward our elected leaders," said Chairman Pam Pollard in a statement. "We support the OSBI and OK County DA David Prater’s investigations of the multiple reports made by our Legislators of potential criminal behavior."
McBride says he feels a weight lifted off his shoulders at being able to discuss the case surrounding the discovery of the GPS device, first reported by NonDoc, more openly. But he is guarded about who he thinks is behind it.
"I have my suspicions. We know who put the device on the vehicle. But they were hired by somebody else," he said. "In my mind, I think I have a pretty good idea. I think that's sad."