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Stolen Equipment


ChrisK

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So, it came to mind tonight that maybe I can help some of you help yourselves. Among the myriad of jobs I have at work, I teach auto theft and equipment theft at the academy. There is alarming statistic as it relates to equipment theft and recovery. The problem is that heavy equipment (skid steers, generators etc.) do not have VIN's (vehicle identification numbers) like on a car. Heavy equipment has a PIN (product identification number) and is just beginning to form a data base but it is still not wide spread. Consequently if some scum sucking dirt wad should happen to come on your site and happen to lift some equipment there is a good chance you won't get it back. What I'd recommend, document the equipment make and model, PIN, distinguishing marks etc. Remember, a lot of driveable equipment uses the same key to operate multiple pieces of equipment. When you report (God forbid this happens to you) a theft to Law Enforcement if you don't properly identify it to them it will get reported incorrectly and you can miss that piece of equipment goodbye. The best example of this is someone takes a tracked skid steer. Everybody, aside from the pros, call this a Bobcat. It could be a Case or whatever. In short, if the report is not made correctly, even if the dirt sucking but wad brings it to a pawn shop or sells it on CL you won't get it back. In NH people that sell to pawn shops have to leave a photo copy of their picture ID and the pawn shop has to do a monthly report to the local police agency. If the reported item was properly reported...BAM! Dirt bag going to jail and you get your equipment back! Hope this helps!

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Yeah it is bad but with the process we have here, it is better than it ever has been. Problem is the one month turn around on the pawn report. But at least the seller has been identified and IF the stolen equipment was reported and entered we can get it back. Worse place for stolen and I am sure everybody knows this, Craigslist. No checks and balances. If you should say buy a generator or anything else for that ,matter, be leery of missing PIN or VIN (trailer). Not necessarily stolen but a good chance it could be! If it is and if it gets recovered, the property will get confiscated and your out of cash!!! Remember, GET A BILL OF SALE!!! VERIFY THE SELLERS NAME ETC...!!! Not everybody is a thief but when you dropping a few bones on the piece of equipment, that's YOUR hard earned money at stake!

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I've recently been stung pretty bad. I brought my four wheeler to my office/shop to replace the battery. About a week later I brought my lawnmower from home up here to cut the grass. After cutting the grass it was late so I parked the lawn mower to take home the next day. Got to work the next morning and my gate chains and locks were cut, and the gate was open about four foot. I'm the first to arrive and last to leave so I knew that it was a burglary immidiately.

 

I looked at all my equipment, welders, tools, 2 pallets of copper welding leads, must have been at least a thousand pounds of welding leads, were near the gate and surprisingly nobody touched them, that's usually the first thing an amateur thief steals around here due to the price of copper.

 

Finally I realized my prized Yamaha Grizzly 660 was stolen. Called the police and filed a report and then realized an hour later that my Kuboto zero turn lawn mower was still here from the day before, or should have been. It was gone too.

 

I did not have seperate policies on the zero turn tractor or four wheeler because it was more than I could afford the last time I redid the homeowners. But they were listed on the homeowners policy and I had turned in pictures at the time of buying the insurance policy.

 

Long story short, the homeowners policy wouldn't cover either one because they were at the office and not on my property. The company insurance we have for our equipment had a fine print exclusion clause that said movables that were not parked inside a main structure would not be covered, that a fence with razor wire across the top and locked gates wasn't adequate security.

 

I wanted to inform you guys that my irresponsibility cost me $20,000. simply because when I read the insurance policy I didn't study the fine print stuff marked with an asterisk. I was complacent, been on a main highway for 20 years and never had a thing stolen.

 

I blocked the gate with a skytrak boom after that so if they did get back in the could only get things they could carry by hand. We had a cold front come through, and it killed the battery on that skytrak forklift. The second night that the skytrak was broken down, they cut my locks again and stole a welding trailer with a brand new Lincoln Vantage 400 stainless steel welder.

 

I know this was a long read, but I can't stress enough to follow what the OP has posted, and also know your insurance policy inside and out to make sure both the policy are correct, and your routines match what's needed for the item to be covered. Not all places are this way, but where I live, the law enforcement officials handle thefts by giving you a police report for the insurance company. Some places have AMAZING theft investigation teams who are specifically focused and educated to recover stolen property. There's no effort to actually find the item by the law enforcement agencies here where I live though.

 

I'm out $40,000 and completely broke from keeping my business running through this tough economy. And my grass is getting VERY tall.

 

I don't know for sure, but I'm fairly confident that it was one of my employees, or a subcontractor that I used on a few jobs. When we had a falling out over money, he promised he would get me good. So keep an eye out as far as employees are concerned.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Hello everyone, ChrisK started a really good topic and has given great advice so far. Holly crap Charles you got cleaned out for $40k?? All I have to say bud, is you need to get a new insurance agent. Why the hell he never recommended you add business property coverage to your general liability policy is beyond me.  

 

This is extremely important and I want everyone here to print this out and save it!!! I also experienced a theft in which our shop was cleaned out for nearly $9,000 of tools which included various powers and almost lead to the theft of our bobcat (luckily I chained the damn thing to the building that night).

 

After this happened I spoke to my insurance agent and he explained luckily that the theft took place on our shop but we were only covered for $3k because I had not bought more coverage. He then recommended I do an inventory of my tools just like ChrisK recommends above. Then I increased coverage on my business policy to match the new tools I had to replace. He then recommended I purchase what is called a floater policy which is used to cover our larger equipment regardless of where it is stored!! We insured our bobcat, several miter saws, hammer drills, along with miscellanious power tools. My agent informed me this policy will now cover all the tools no matter where we take them. I highly recommend you all talk to your insurance agents about this policy to help protect yourselfs.

 

Sorry for the long post.

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  • 4 months later...

I would also like to address buying used equipment. Be very aware of too good to be true deals. I bought a used 066 power head from a "friend" for $200 because he "needed rent". I figured it wasn't working so I dropped it off at the saw shop to have them give a once over. When I went to pick it up that night the service guy and to my surprise a cop wanted to know where I got the saw.

Apparently my "friend" had stolen a bunch of tools out of the back of a pickup a few months earlier. I assume he thought there was enough time passed he wouldn't get caught. The saw shop kept records of names and serial numbers of all the equipment they sold. Plus the rightful owner had engraved his phone number behind the fuel tank.

I nearly ended up in the clink and out $200 for an awesome deal. The rightful owner ended up letting me keep the powerhead because he had already gotten it replaced through insurance.

I learned to watch out for hot deals and inspect used tools and equipment. Ask lots of questions. It's a good idea to inscribe some kind of identifier (phone number, initials smiley face, etc) in an inconspicuous spot or under the case of your high dollar items.

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  • 1 year later...

Hard to tell. I would tell you that eBay buyer protection works as I have been screwed on MANY occasions buying tools. Mostly my fault for actually trusting people but I won't buy people with a high rating. This helps a lot as the seller has a proven track record. But remember if they are not an authorized factory seller, you have to be careful. If you see an Makita LXT impact and battery or a Milwaukee Fuel hammer drill for fifty bucks.....it is clearly worth more so it may be a scam. Feedback is really how I base making a purchase. Hope this helps! Chris

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  • 4 months later...

I also think its a good idea on larger equiptment to buy the $30 or whatever it is stamp kit and stamp some letters and numbers somewhere only you will know so when it does get stolen and they remove the serial number after searching online where its located, you can say theres xxx-xxx-xx-x under the seat ect. Just an extra precaution

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  • 1 year later...
On 3/22/2013 at 8:13 AM, CharliesTheMan said:

I've recently been stung pretty bad. I brought my four wheeler to my office/shop to replace the battery. About a week later I brought my lawnmower from home up here to cut the grass. After cutting the grass it was late so I parked the lawn mower to take home the next day. Got to work the next morning and my gate chains and locks were cut, and the gate was open about four foot. I'm the first to arrive and last to leave so I knew that it was a burglary immidiately.

 

I looked at all my equipment, welders, tools, 2 pallets of copper welding leads, must have been at least a thousand pounds of welding leads, were near the gate and surprisingly nobody touched them, that's usually the first thing an amateur thief steals around here due to the price of copper.

 

Finally I realized my prized Yamaha Grizzly 660 was stolen. Called the police and filed a report and then realized an hour later that my Kuboto zero turn lawn mower was still here from the day before, or should have been. It was gone too.

 

I did not have seperate policies on the zero turn tractor or four wheeler because it was more than I could afford the last time I redid the homeowners. But they were listed on the homeowners policy and I had turned in pictures at the time of buying the insurance policy.

 

Long story short, the homeowners policy wouldn't cover either one because they were at the office and not on my property. The company insurance we have for our equipment had a fine print exclusion clause that said movables that were not parked inside a main structure would not be covered, that a fence with razor wire across the top and locked gates wasn't adequate security.

 

I wanted to inform you guys that my irresponsibility cost me $20,000. simply because when I read the insurance policy I didn't study the fine print stuff marked with an asterisk. I was complacent, been on a main highway for 20 years and never had a thing stolen.

 

I blocked the gate with a skytrak boom after that so if they did get back in the could only get things they could carry by hand. We had a cold front come through, and it killed the battery on that skytrak forklift. The second night that the skytrak was broken down, they cut my locks again and stole a welding trailer with a brand new Lincoln Vantage 400 stainless steel welder.

 

I know this was a long read, but I can't stress enough to follow what the OP has posted, and also know your insurance policy inside and out to make sure both the policy are correct, and your routines match what's needed for the item to be covered. Not all places are this way, but where I live, the law enforcement officials handle thefts by giving you a police report for the insurance company. Some places have AMAZING theft investigation teams who are specifically focused and educated to recover stolen property. There's no effort to actually find the item by the law enforcement agencies here where I live though.

 

I'm out $40,000 and completely broke from keeping my business running through this tough economy. And my grass is getting VERY tall.

 

I don't know for sure, but I'm fairly confident that it was one of my employees, or a subcontractor that I used on a few jobs. When we had a falling out over money, he promised he would get me good. So keep an eye out as far as employees are concerned.

I wouldn't be surprised if it was an employee. From what I hear, an astronomical amount of workplace theft is by employees.

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People that steal from citizens and small business owners are a special breed of shitbags(pardon my language). Even if you're starving and doing what you have to to survive until you can do it legitimately, do it to a big box store that can handle the loss. Then stop and support the hell out of them when you're back on your feet.

 

Do these large machines have numbers on their engine/motors? Might be another way to track them. Keeping track of serial numbers is a must.

 

I work at a small business and I think my tools would be the last thing they stole. My biggest worry is my tool bag in my car, which has a over a thousand dollars in a bag that weighs under 20lbs. I normally photograph everything of value when I buy it, I have a lot of expensive hockey equipment and tools so if there's a fire or if there's a break in I can figure out what's missing and file a claim...though most of it isn't replaceable if I had the money. I have some ridiculously rare hockey gloves, like Brett Hull gloves that were only made for him and a few employees for an all-star game and signed. Another one is a pair of one-off(literally the only pair on Earth), Mike Modano gloves that were fabricated by Warrior...And others, I probably have $8,000 worth of hockey gloves alone. Not to mention that to replace the skates I wear would cost me about $1,000.

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