Organized crime continues to drive construction equipment theft. In today’s down economy, professional thieves are even more cunning and see construction equipment as a highly lucrative theft opportunity, making it more important than ever to protect these valuable items from sophisticated thieves.
LoJack Corporation does an annual wrap-up of the year’s top commercial recoveries involving its LoJack Stolen Vehicle Recovering System. Here are LoJack’s top construction equipment recoveries for 2008, according to Patrick Clancy, LoJack’s Vice President of Law Enforcement:
- Biggest Theft Ring Bust: Florida police activated the LoJack System to track welders and various construction equipment stolen from a construction company. A welder was quickly tracked to an equipment and repair business. Once inside, detectives recovered an additional 212 pieces of stolen heavy machinery and equipment, valued at approximately $1.5 million.
- Best Example of Radio Frequency’s Ability to Track Hidden Equipment: This recovery demonstrates the effectiveness of RF technology in tracking equipment hidden under dense foliage (RF also is more effective than GPS when items are in garages or steel enclosures). In this recovery, a Caterpillar 420 Backhoe equipped with LoJack was stolen from a jobsite in Arizona. Its signal was tracked to a large field that was empty with the exception of a huge haystack – which actually housed the stolen backhoe that was buried beneath layers of hay!
- Best Bust Involving Multiple Crimes: An Ingersoll Skid Steer stolen in California was tracked and recovered within 10 minutes of activation. At the scene, Oakland School Police also discovered a second Skid Steer and a thriving marijuana farm with $100,000 worth of marijuana plants, plus guns, counterfeit police IDs, books on bomb making and several other pieces of stolen construction equipment.
- Fastest Recovery: Within two minutes of activating the LoJack System, police picked up the silent signal from a stolen Hyster Fork Lift, which was hidden inside a greater Los Angeles food warehouse. Upon identifying the fork lift, police noticed its PIN plate had been removed. Deputies also found another non-LoJack equipped fork lift – which was originally stolen in 2006 – at the same location and arrested one suspect.
- Best Recovery of Multiple Forklifts Stolen from a Rental Company: The LoJack System helped several law enforcement agencies – from Chicago to Massachusetts – crack a theft ring involving eight stolen forklifts, six of which were stolen from a major rental equipment company in Chicago. All eight forklifts were recovered with minimal or no damage. Six of the forklifts were returned to the rental company and two arrests are pending.