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News » Plant » Tracking technology foils plant thieves » published 24 Aug 2017

Tracking technology foils plant thieves

Anti-theft technology has come to the rescue of at least two stolen construction machines this month.

The stolen JCB was found working in a back garden in Radlett Above: The stolen JCB was found working in a back garden in Radlett

A stolen Wacker compactor plate was retrieved within hours of being reported stolen, thanks to an AMI tracking device.

A fraudulently hired mini-excavator, registered with the Construction Equipment Security & Registration (CESAR), took a little longer to recover.

The Wacker plate was stolen from the Worcestershire depot of a civil engineering contractor.  It was fitted with the AT5, a self-contained, wireless, battery operated tracking device that measures a pocket-sized 54mm x 65mm x 37mm. The AT5 has a battery life of up to 20 years and uses assisted global positioning system technology to locate it to within one-metre accuracy.

When the theft was reported on 8th August 2017, AMI put the AT5 unit into a 15 minute wake-sleep cycle mode, meaning that it would report its position every 15 minutes before returning to sleep so that it would remain undetectable to the thieves.

A few hours later AMI’s finder team were in the back garden of a property on a new housing development where the stolen Wacker plate was being used. The machine was reclaimed and returned to its rightful owner.

It was a slightly different story for a West Midlands hire company that hired out a JCB 8030 excavator to what turned out to be a bogus customer, but the end result was the same.

The machine was fraudulently hired on 24th July 2017 but the hirers then disappeared without trace, taking the JCB and other ‘hired’ goods with them. A search was launched and, thanks to the Datag RFID label on the CESAR-registered machine, it was soon located in the Hatfield area of Hertfordshire. The police were informed and they quickly obtained a search warrant for the premises.

However, before they could act the machine had been moved to another location in Radlett. The excavator was finally found being used in a back garden on 10th August. The thieves had removed some of the CESAR markings but had been unable to remove all traces of the machine’s identity. Four people were arrested, including the owner of the company doing the work. The £21,000 digger was returned back to the hire company with further police enquiries continuing.



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This article was published on 24 Aug 2017 (last updated on 24 Aug 2017).

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