Wireless Networks Track Stolen Skid Steer

Staff | September 28, 2010

Finding skid steers under trees requires a combination of GPS and cell signals.

KORE Telematics and asset-management-service DPL America recently played a fundamental role in exposing an organized ring of equipment thieves. In late 2007, perpetrators rented equipment simultaneously from several branches of an equipment rental company in North Carolina with the intent of moving the machines out of the country. The rental company had outfitted its vehicles with DPL's monitoring and tracking system.

Managers became suspicious of one of the transactions and tracked the equipment to a location nearly 100 miles from where it was supposed to be. The company ran locations for every rental from the previous day and tracked another piece of equipment in Texas, where it had been transported through the night to a wrecking yard near the Mexican border.

The company was able to map the exact location for authorities, right down to the trees under which the equipment was parked. The rental firm locked down the engine remotely from North Carolina and when authorities arrived, they found nearly a dozen additional pieces of equipment being staged for transport over the border. The wrecking yard's proprietor was immediately arrested, and subsequently pointed authorities to another yard where they recovered more stolen equipment.

"Two years ago this outcome would not have been possible because of two factors," said Alex Brisbourne, KORE's president. "First, machine-to-machine, dedicated networks simply didn't cover the amount of terrain necessary to track equipment so closely across such great distances. Second, because of where the vehicle was, it required both GPS and cell-signal transmission to locate it. This was not a realistic option before we brought these technologies together under one network offering."