Local musician creates guitar pedal that tracks stolen gear

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ST. LOUIS (KPLR) - Jesse Caron has a solution for the ‘broken into band van’ problem in St. Louis.

“I’m at work standing in front the brake press and working and thought, ‘Man, I’ve got to do something about this,’” said Caron, founder of Smrt Roadie.

By day, Caron works as a metal fabricator; by night, he’s a musician and one frustrated with this river city's reputation for bands having their gear stolen while in our fair city.

“Smrt Roadie is a GPS-enabled guitar tuning pedal,” Caron said. “So it has the tuner and the ability to track the gear if it gets lost or stolen.”

He and a Kansas City business partner have been developing the software and hardware for bands that have fallen on hard times getting their gear stolen in the Gateway City. The tuner will also be a processor, filled with effects and GPS.

His pedal for the cause puts the players in the driver seat tracks their gear.

“The goal is to try to prevent people from stealing it or if it does happen then we can track it down in real time,” Caron said.

GPS trackers are nothing new and, with modern technology, they can be shrunk down in size.

“A lot of that is based on Bluetooth, so the range is real short,” Caron said. “It’s up to 300 meters, which is fine if you’re at the venue. But not fine if they drive away from the venue.”

That’s been growing, keeping some musicians from booking a gig in Mound City. Caron is part of iTen, a startup accelerator program providing him with mentorship as he builds his business from scratch. He said he’s getting ready to launch a Kickstarter to develop and launch his line of self-policing pedals.

“To me as a live music fan, that’s one thing I didn’t want to happen is my favorite bands dropping off from St. Louis, even though it’s already happened to a couple of them,” he said.

If Caron has his way, musicians will only have to worry about broken strings, instead of broken-in vans.