Default [Q] Preserve an App through factory reset

I've done everything I can think of to determine if this is a question that has been posed elsewhere - to no avail. Nothing quite seems to fit my predicament exactly (that I've found anyway - please feel free to flame/educate me if I have overlooked anything or am in the wrong thread) I am hoping you 1337 pros here on xda devs can help this poor self-loathing n00b. Apologies for the lengthy post - but it is necessary to explain my question.

I am attempting to develop an app (open source for personal use [no ads] - with enterprise edition available for a fee) that can remotely secure/locate an Android device - tablets, phones, etc -- targeted for anything running Froyo or better.

The problem I am running into is that I am unable to prevent a would-be thief from initiating a factory reset and removing the app (and it's configuration settings). I have device admin setup so that the permissions must be revoked after signing in with a username and password before the app can be uninstalled - but factory restore still wipes it.

As this would be a theft deterrent/recovery tool - relying on a thief to connect the device back to the original Google account and reinstall the apps is out of the question. I understand that if the ROM is replaced with a custom ROM (e.g. Cyanogen, etc.) it would not be able to prevent the app from being wiped - but negating the factory reset from removing the app would still be very beneficial.

Short of including the app in the manufacturer's ROM image - is there any work around to be found here? I'm at my wit's end (however limited that may be).

I am most grateful for any information you can provide - even if its bad news.