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Equipment theft: prevention/recovery

Discussion in 'Commercial Snow Removal' started by Maine_Train, Jan 16, 2014.

  1. Maine_Train

    Maine_Train Senior Member
    Messages: 462

    I stuck this under "Commercial" because of the business owners who have had equipment stolen. Even if you're insured to the hilt, it's still a pain in the azz to lose time while waiting to replace something. Having equipment stolen is unpleasant for any owner, but when you use the equipment to earn your livelihood, losing it to a no-good thief really stinks.

    Just for starters, there was some discussion in another thread about how easily the labels with serial numbers can be peeled off a blade, or have the numbers scrubbed off. (I accidentally did that to my 7½' RD. More about that later.) Boss acknowledges this in the video on their blog, 6 Ways To Protect Your Snow Plow From Theft. They suggest engraving the number in a secret place on the plow.
    You could engrave the number in one or more secret places, depending how ambitious you feel, and in one or more obvious places. The obvious marks might suggest to a thief that he'd have to do a little more work to find and obliterate all the numbers on that plow, and that maybe it would be something he wouldn't want to get caught with.
    Then too, sometimes thieves don't reason the way honest people do, so there might not be any deterrent effect to that. But places where it looked like a serial number had been ground off might also give law enforcement officers reason to look a little closer at the plow and whoever was in possession of it.

    Even though I inadvertently wiped the numbers and bar code off the label on my blade recently, I had photographed that label and the one on the hydraulic unit shortly after I bought the truck and plow. The number on the blade is seventeen digits long, but I figured out that the last five are the model number, 27500. I also figured there was a date code in there someplace, so I emailed Fisher Engineering to ask about that. The reply confirmed that the last five digits are the model number, and the first six digits are the date code, 031016 being October 16, 2003. That leaves six digits that distinguish my plow from any other 27500 built on that day.

    I think if you only engraved (or stamped?) those six digits to save some time (and wear on the engraver), that would have to be entered as an OAN, Owner Applied Number, rather than as a serial number (SER) for your law enforcement agency to make an NCIC entry if your plow was stolen. A better OAN might be your driver license number, but we'll kick that around later.

    Future discussion: plow locks.
  2. Mark Oomkes

    Mark Oomkes PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 13,256

    A marketing guy from Western asked me about plow locks. I told him if someone can outrun buckshot, they can have my plow. He thought I was kidding.

    BTW, since that conversation, my "arsenal" may have increased. I may have longer reach with larger projectiles now.
  3. unhcp

    unhcp PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,267

  4. Maine_Train

    Maine_Train Senior Member
    Messages: 462

    And made right near you, in Plaistow. Bladelocks are made to fit Fisher, Boss, Curtis, and Blizzard, if anyone's interested. <http://wardfab.com/bladelock>

    Yeah, with that on there, they'd have to cart it off to their hideout to cut the lock off. I think trying to cut off a Master 187 or similar heavy-duty padlock right on-site would cause a lot of noise.
    Is there a tree or anything close enough that you could chain it to?
    I emailed Ward Fabrication recently to ask if they have a locking device that will work when the plow is on the truck, and they said they're working on one.

    Yeah, but too often, the dumb bastitches are lucky.
  5. Maine_Train

    Maine_Train Senior Member
    Messages: 462

    GPS trackers: Brother 07PSDCREW provided some info about the DeWalt DS500 MobileLock. The vendor where he saw it was sold out, but I found a reseller in TX who has them for the same price. The box is 4.4" x 3.3" x 1.3", which might fit under the lift arm on a Fisher. For other brands, you might not be able to hide it, but it looks like the tracker will send an alarm if someone removes it. I think it works on Sprint.

    Gotta do some more research on those. <https://www.dropbox.com/s/jd7qazwdsiap7hq/DS500.pdf>
    Last edited: Jan 16, 2014
  6. mtnbktrek

    mtnbktrek Senior Member
    from NEPA
    Messages: 144

    We were always having chains and stuff like that stolen. Now all chains are welded and bolted to salt bin, snow boxes, plows.

    We have our name welded on our stuff in tuff to grind spots.

    Dump truck - wish somebody would swipe that! Heck and the fisher hooked to it. Hate fishr

    Trailers are tongue to tongue with trucks backed up to rear doors.

    I always catch guys stealing pails of salt. And dumping.

    Equipment has disconnects in tuff spots to see but easy to flip if u know where they are.

    And the smith .40 in the glove box.
  7. Maine_Train

    Maine_Train Senior Member
    Messages: 462

    I like that idea. I just took a welding class a year or two ago, but if I had a small MIG rig or whatever, I'd be getting some practice by putting my initials in a couple of places on the plow. As long as there weren't so many "turds" in it that it was unreadable... :D

    Y'mean leaving trash in your yard? I hate that. :mad:
    We seem to have less of that since I put up signs telling people the fine starts at $100 and they can have their license suspended for it. Our cameras might have helped with that, too.

    I'm hoping the "Beware of Dog" and "Beware of Owner" signs will keep anyone from ever having to see the "sharp end" of my SIG P226 (.40).
  8. thelettuceman

    thelettuceman PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,218

    :gunsfiring: I will not be stopping by your place ...LOL & good response !!!
  9. Maine_Train

    Maine_Train Senior Member
    Messages: 462

    More about locks:
    1) Devere Enterprises makes two types for Boss, one for Fisher, and one for Western. The Fisher looks like it will work with the plow on or off the truck. The other two are designed to keep someone from hooking your plow onto their truck. <http://www.gladhandlock.com/plow-lock> The price shown on their site for the Fisher lock is probably out of date; they're on eBay for $42.95.
    2) Pin-Lock from Sno-Lock Products is made for Fisher Minute Mount, on or off the truck. It looks like it uses a cylindrical lock like the ones for receiver hitches. <http://www.sno-lock.com/indexfull.html>
    3) Polar Bear Plow Lock™ is for Fisher MM. It fits in the attachment arm while the plow is off the truck, and holds the pins open. Available online <http://www.polarbearplowlocks.com> or from Wolf Hill Home & Garden Center in Gloucester or Ipswich, MA.
    4) The TommyLock is also made in MA, and available on eBay. Fisher MM, on or off the truck. <http://thetommylock.com>
    5) The Web site for this one is active, but when I called them Friday, they said there had been a fire at their fabricator's shop, and there wouldn't be any available until later this year: <http://plowlock.com/about-plowlock.html>

    I haven't seen the one shown in the first post in this thread listed anywhere, so I don't know who makes them or if they're still available.
    Anybody know of any others?
  10. Maine_Train

    Maine_Train Senior Member
    Messages: 462

    Update on the DeWalt MobileLock: I have one on order. They send their signals via Sprint, which has some coverage in this area, but can also "roam" on Verizon, which has pretty good coverage around here.
    The GPS is "Assisted GPS," which uses trilateration from cell towers to get a better fix. It doesn't work when roaming, but we'll do some testing and see how accurate it is.
  11. Maine_Train

    Maine_Train Senior Member
    Messages: 462

    Received my DeWalt MobileLock unit today. It's being charged while I await the sorting out of one "technical difficulty," but I've already established an account for it via MobileLock's Website.
    It's pretty compact, and the magnets on the back seem to have quite a grip. I'll do some "road tests" with it once I get it configured.
  12. Maine_Train

    Maine_Train Senior Member
    Messages: 462

    Quap; I hate replying to my own posts, but it was too late to edit the previous one.

    Chris, the #1 Tech Guy for MobileLock, got my device working tonight, outside of regular hours for support calls. Thumbs Up

    I did a Locate on the tracker, and the map showed an accuracy of ±36 feet. In the Google Earth view, it not only showed it was at my house, but within a few feet of where it was in the house at that time. (I had tested the Page function on it before trying the Locate, and I had to put it under some pillows at the other end of the house so La Wife wouldn't wake up thinking it was the smoke detectors or something.)
    [​IMG] [​IMG]

    More testing to follow.
  13. Maine_Train

    Maine_Train Senior Member
    Messages: 462

    I ran a one-hour tracking session on the device yesterday afternoon. I set it to do a Locate every five minutes, and it only missed a couple of them. Although it draws a straight line between each Locate's point on the map, rather than following the turns it made, I thought it was pretty accurate. :cool:

    One concern I had was that although I had the Vibrate alarm on, and set for the highest sensitivity (with no False Alarm Filter), it didn't seem to detect. I stuck the unit on the headgear of my plow, on the bar between the lights. It never picked up vibration from the road, or from putting the blade up or down. It's a piezo sensor, so it's looking for sounds rather than motion.

    I'll see what I can find out about that later today.
  14. unhcp

    unhcp PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,267

    Is it concealed? would i notice it?
  15. Maine_Train

    Maine_Train Senior Member
    Messages: 462

    I think it could be concealed, maybe under the lift arm on a Fisher. I had mine on the bar between the lights just so I could keep an eye on it as I drove around. That allowed both magnets to make contact with the steel bar, and it stayed in place pretty well. The state road that runs past my house is in pretty good shape in my town, but in the next town, it's gonna need some serious patching come spring.
    Putting it under the lift arm could also allow the tamper switch to be depressed. On later lift arms like the one on my MM2, that slight curve/angle it has might not allow the device to sit flat against the steel, creating bad contact for the magnets and tamper switch. I want to make sure I have something to catch it if I do a road test with it under the lift arm, in case it doesn't "stick" properly. I also want to find out if the steel would affect the signal.

    If somebody did see it, and pulled it off, the tamper alarm would be triggered if you had it set when you configured it. You could choose to have the alarm siren on, which might scare off a thief before they could load up the plow, but I think I'd rather get a silent alarm and then track them to wherever they were taking it.

    Thanks for chiming in. It was starting to look like I was talking to myself. (Which I do sometimes. I don't argue with myself, though. :D)
    Last edited: Jan 30, 2014
  16. unhcp

    unhcp PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,267

    Well I think it would be useless if you can't hide it on the plow somewhere, they could just take it off and then leave and never be seen again.
  17. Maine_Train

    Maine_Train Senior Member
    Messages: 462

    They'd have to see it, and know what it was. But if they remove it, it still sends an alarm. For tracking, though, it would kinda need to be on the item you wanted to track.

    The vibration alarm is another feature that I think has some potential. If the sensitivity was set high enough, maybe somebody just yanking on the pin release handle could set it off. If somebody trying to remove the lock wouldn't be enough to set it off, then tipping the plow over to stuff it into a trailer probably would. (Like the thieves were doing in MA.) That's something I need to experiment with.

    I'm a light sleeper, so my cell phone going off because of an alarm message will wake me up. I'd hope I could get outside and interrupt a theft before they could leave with the plow. Somebody else might sleep through the alerts.
    The "geofence" is another possibility: if the plow or other item leaves a certain area, an alarm is sent. Geofencing uses up more Locates, because it has to check its location periodically to make sure it hasn't left the boundary.

    MobileLock isn't the solution, and it might not work at all for some situations, but I think it has some good possibilities. They've gotten some good recoveries and a lot of arrests in various places.

    You're using a Ward Bladelock on yours, right? I just ordered a Devere lock (box) to try on mine, alongside the rig I use now. The Devere is supposed to work with the plow on or off the truck. They're $35.95 on eBay right now, with free shipping. The Devere box could use a padlock with a long shackle, but I'm going to use a Master 1480 receiver lock.
    Last edited: Jan 31, 2014
  18. unhcp

    unhcp PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,267

    Yes I am using the bladelock, which is a good tool for what it is. It will not prevent someone from putting the plow in a truck bed or trailer though so I do use chains and more locks but nothing is perfect I guess that is why we have insurance.
  19. Maine_Train

    Maine_Train Senior Member
    Messages: 462

    Sometimes a good chain and lock will do it. It can give 'em the idea that you're not kidding around, and that maybe their existence would be a lot happier (safer) if they just moved on to easier pickings. Those really determined bastitches with trailers and stuff are a little harder to stop.

    Insurance is a necessary evil. In most states, we need it just to have a vehicle on the road. That's expensive enough, without having my rate go up because something got stolen. Plus, insurance might replace the plow, but it probably won't cover any lost income from not being able to use the plow.

    Nothing is theft-proof. There are only varying degrees of theft resistance. Security can be expensive, and inconvenient too, but it's not as expensive or as aggravating as losing a plow or sander to a no-good thief. :angry:

    It'll be interesting to see what Ward Fabrication comes up with for locking a plow while it's on the truck. I just noticed they posted their first YouTube video five years ago (02/08/09), so they've been making locks for awhile. Looks like there might have been some recent changes to their Website, so maybe something new is in the works.
  20. Maine_Train

    Maine_Train Senior Member
    Messages: 462

    Ran another test with the MobileLock DS500 this afternoon. Now that I've figured out how to get the Vibration alarm to work, it seemed to do just fine when I raised the plow the first time, and as I was going over the road with it stuck on the headgear the same way as in my previous tests. (There's a 15-minute "mask" between activations, so it doesn't trigger contantly from road bumps. You can override the mask.) I had the Sensitivity on 4 (Medium), and no False Alarm Filter.
    I also discovered that with those settings and the DS500 stuck to the back of a steel security case for a trail camera, it'll trigger if the cover is lifted off the case and the camera removed.

    The Locates were again set for every five minutes, for a 30-minute tracking session. It followed me around pretty well. Accuracy ranged from ±210 feet (the second Locate, while I was still at the house), to ±13 feet for the next-to-last one, as I was waiting to turn into the shopping plaza where my bank is. The last Locate was while I was at the bank's drive-up, and it said ±39 feet, but it was pretty much spot-on in the satellite view.

    The DS500 might not be as concealable as some trackers on the market (it won't really fit under a new-style Fisher lift arm without some modification of the arm). but some of those other ones I know of are more for police "bait" operations, and are probably higher-priced. They also may not be as weather-tight as the DeWalt, or be able to be used as a standalone intrusion alarm. Other "consumer" trackers probably won't work as a door/window or motion-detector alarm, and might not be able to use Assisted GPS, either.
    The more I experiment with it, the better I like it. :cool:

    Sometime Thursday, I hope to have a Devere DFSPLR lock to try out on my MM2. I already have the Master 1480 receiver lock that I'm going to try on the Devere box.