Catching a thief

Case Studies
Printer-friendly version

In May, the staff at Wolverine Tractor and Equipment, Southfield, Mich., did an inventory and discovered one of their Volvo L110F wheel loaders was missing. The following Tuesday, Volvo Financial Services did their inventory, and confirmed that the machine was indeed missing.

“We checked internally to see if someone moved the machine and forgot to do the paperwork,” recalled Ric Simon, Wolverine president. “There was no sign of a break-in, and our yard is fenced off."

“It took us a few days to come to grips with the fact that the loader may have been stolen,” said Simon. “Then we filed a police report. It occurred to us that the machine had CareTrack , our GPS system, on it. So we figured we could use that system to locate the machine.”

Simon said Wolverine staffers immediately went to the computer to check activity on the loader, but found none.

“We understood that the machine had to be running with no overhead obstructions, so that the satellites could locate the loader,” said Simon. “We checked the computer every day, but there was no activity whatsoever."

“We got a little frustrated,” Simon said. “We knew that the machine should report activity unless the CareTrack system had been disabled, something we were concerned about.”

Then, on a Monday morning, Wolverine staffers checked the computer and found that the loader had been operated the previous Sunday. “The CareTrack system pinpointed the loader on a map displayed on the computer, showing us exactly where the machine was,” said Simon.

CareTrack showed the loader’s location as being at a farm about 60 miles from Southfield. “We drove by the location but could not see the loader from the road,” said Simon. “So we contacted the local sheriff and went to see the farmer.”

A woman answered the door, and affirmed that the sheriff and Wolverine people could look around. “We found it tucked away in a barn,” said Simon. “The farmer didn’t know it was stolen; he had paid $40,000 for a loader worth well over $200,000, thinking he was getting a good deal.

“There’s no way we would have found that loader without CareTrack,” said Simon. Police did locate the thief, and prosecuted him under the law.
“We still don’t know how he got in and out of our yard without anybody knowing about it,” said Simon. “We now have surveillance cameras watching our yard around the clock.”

Overlay Init