Our first break-in

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by DFW Area Landscaper, Jan 18, 2007.

  1. DFW Area Landscaper

    DFW Area Landscaper LawnSite Silver Member
    from DFW, TX
    Messages: 2,116

    One of our enclosed carge trailers was broken into sometime during the last 2 weeks. I found it today.

    This is a brand new trailer for an expansion crew this spring. I had just finished the installation of the shelves and stuff a few weeks ago and put all the tools and gas cans, etc into the trailer. Everything was in there with the exception of the expensive stuff (2 cycle equipment, solo backpack sprayer and the Honda 21" mowers). I didn't have a discus lock, so I put a regular pad lock on this trailer as a temporary solution. I was sick last week and never made it over to the storage facility. Today, I started to put the backpack sprayer in there and noticed it was unlocked. I opend the door and noticed the tool box was missing.

    All they took was the tool box, everything in it, and a 3 lb spool of Stihl trimmer line. The tool box itself is worth about $30, the trimmer line is worth about $30, the tools inside were worth around $40 and the most expensive thing that was in that tool box were the daily blades for the Honda mowers, worth around $120. Of course, they cut my lock and it is nowhere to be found. All told, I am out around $200 plus my time to repurchase everything, which is several hours of work. Everything in the trailer was brand new and had never been used.

    I have inland marine coverage. We pay $450 twice per year and it covers up to $25,000 worth of equipment.

    Would you file a claim with insurance over this?

    FWIW, I was VERY surprised to see that anyone would dare steal anything at this facility. They have cameras fixed on every square inch of the place and a close up of your face as you drive through the gate. Whoever stole this isn't aware of the security at this place. All the video surveilance is saved on hard drive. They might actually be able to catch this guy. I just don't know who is gonna have to rewind the footage and watch for activity on high speed. I would guess that could take several hours. I know I won't do it. Maybe the manager of the storage facility would have to do this or perhaps the insurance company would do it. I dunno. But the guy had bolt cutters or something to cut through padlocks and my gut feeling tells me he'll be back.

    DFW Area Landscaper
  2. DBL

    DBL LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,219

    ive never put in a claim against my inland marine section do the rates go up it may be better in the long run to just not tell them but then again i could be wrong and they may cover it without any actions on you sorry it happened but it could have been worse

    FATWEASEL LawnSite Senior Member
    from NC
    Messages: 326

    I agree with you that the thief will probably be back once they figure out that the trailer is stocked with more expensive stuff. If they can get away with it once, why not do it again, right?

    I would definitely pursue review of the video surveillance. #1. You might catch the guy. #2. You might find out that your equipment is NOT safe and can look for a more secure facility or see if they have a better parking spot.

    My guess would be that a couple of guys cut the fence or jumped the fence and planned on tossing the stuff back over, BUT there are some stoopit crooks out there. Could have been someone with a truck and trailer that planned to ride off with thousands in equipment. I'd ask the office manager to review the log in/out at the gate if they determine the date and time of your theft.

    One other thing, I'm sure your contract says something to the effect that they aren't responsible for theft but considering that you are renting space from a facility that has a fence, a gate that's code protected, and surveillance cameras, it is a given assumption from customers that their stuff is secure. If you have receipts, you might want to see if they'll cover your loss in part or in full. If you have good relations with an attorney, a phone call from him would not hurt either.:)

    Sorry for your loss.


    HOOLIE LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,981

    Yeah I never knew how easy it was to cut a lock, until one day when I accidentally locked the truck keys inside the shed :cry: so the manager gave me his bolt cutters and it was like 'snip' and the lock was cut...the discus locks are supposedly resistant to bolt cutters according to the manager.

    I don't think I'd file a claim over $120, although I would like to...get on the manager to review the tapes!!

    HOOLIE LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,981

    My storage facility requires that you carry insurance on the stored goods...either through them or an outside party. They won't let you rent without a policy, I would assume most storage facilities operate like this in order to "not be responsible" but you never know.
  6. desii

    desii LawnSite Member
    Messages: 193

    Personally, I would'nt file a claim for $200. I have done that a few times in the past for similar situations (weed eaters, blowers, etc). A few years later I had a more significant loss and the insurance co. wanted to drop me. My agent informed me that she would have recommended that I not file some of the less significant claims had she known about them (she should've made her employees aware of this as that is what I pay them for...insurance / advice).

    I had someone try to cut the locks off of my enclosed trailer several weeks ago, too. For some reason, they were unsuccessful and I have now changed them out to the discus type. They seem to be a better design and I haven't used them before. They look like they should be more difficult to cut. But as we all know, if they want it, they'll get in:gunsfirins
  7. JJLandscapes

    JJLandscapes LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 682

    cameras alone dont mean anything to thieves...i highly doubt he drove through the front where you would get a view of his face.. and there is always a square inch where cameras arent watching... and every lock can be broken into. The only way full proof way to not get anything stolen is to have no one know it exists which is near impossible with a landscape trailer .

    I broke into places up until HS for fun never to steal anything and if a HS kid could get into some of the places ive been a real criminal couldd do it with ease.

    Take it how you want it im not trying to be an a-hole just givnig you a real point of view from someone who has done alot of bad stuff in his life
  8. Potchkins

    Potchkins LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 570

    "Would you file a claim with insurance over this?" No

    All the video surveilance is saved on hard drive. They might actually be able to catch this guy.

    rewind the footage and watch for activity on high speed,
    and my gut feeling tells me he'll be back. so does mine
  9. sikagrass

    sikagrass LawnSite Member
    Messages: 238

    Sorry to hear about your loss.As others say I wouldnt file on the insurance either but I would do anything I had to do to see those tapes and try to catch that guy before he hits one of your trailers that is full of expensive equipment.Locks just keep honest people honest, the keys to the city will open about anything.
  10. Dunn's

    Dunn's LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,534

    Well first off if you won't take the time to do it and it is your stuff. What makes you think they will take the time to do it. Second I am not sure of what the population consists of in your area but if they happened to be african american. Don't expect them to be catching them anytime soon. Because of the coloring the camera can't make out their facial features very well if at all. You have to have the reall good cameras that zoom in on moving objects if not. You are out of luck. Sorry this happened to you. Your best bet is to try and find someone with some space on their land to rent to store your equipment. Storage facilities are always a bad idea, very commomn for theft.

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