The three little words that enabled Storm Geomatics to recover its entire fleet of survey instruments within 4 hours of the theft.
Despite a break in that occurred on Saturday night at 10.30 pm, the company was fully operational on Monday morning at 7.00am thanks to CCTV, Trimble’s Sentinel Track and Locate app, a fast Police response and some hard work from the Storm team that saw all the recovered instruments checked and recalibrated over the weekend.
Whilst instrument theft continues to be a problem in our profession, it is always rewarding to hear from companies such as Storm Geomatics that thieving from premises can be reacted to quickly and effectively and that investment in technology is part of the solution.
10.30pm: CCTV monitoring the Storm premises picked up unusual activity alerting the monitoring company who called the police and Storm Geomatics Managing Director, Mike Hopkins.
10.37pm: Smoke is released in the building and the thieves leave with stolen equipment escaping through a hedge and setting off on foot across fields.
10.47pm: Mike Hopkins arrives on site along with the Police and a tracker dog which picks up a scent but cannot located the thieves. Further police attend the scene in an attempt to find the panicked thieves.
12.45am: Mike contacts Storm Operations Director Anthony Pritchard who logs into the Trimble Sentinel app to see if one of the chipped Trimble Total Stations can be tracked
12.55am: Lat/Lon reference shows the position of the stolen goods with a time stamp of 12:51am. The lat/lon is converted to a What3words reference and given to the police.
01:30am: A police dog team go straight to the equipment using the What3Words reference – it is found in a wheelbarrow in a hedge, abandoned. Four total stations, one SX10, two controllers, two R12 GNSS units, a level and other survey accessories. The yellow boxes were discarded.
2.10am: The stolen instruments are handled with gloves, placed in the back of a Landrover and returned to a safe place.
Our thanks to Polly Hopkins of Storm Geomatics for sharing this timely reminder on how instrument thieves can strike at any time. She explains, “There’s no doubt that this was a planned operation with the thieves arriving with an angle grinder to cut through the wall of the building and attempts to remove the external CCTV cameras.
“In this case, our investment in security measures has paid off 100%. The police could not have been more responsive and in a particularly busy period for us, our customers were completely unaffected – on Monday morning by 7.00am all our instruments had been checked, calibrated and ready to go.”
Protect your Equipment in the Field
Sentinel is available as an after-market add-on for Trimble S Series and C5 instruments. Its usefulness goes far beyond retrieving missing instruments. It can help you find teams in the field at any given time. It also contains a G-force sensor that sends alerts to users to check instruments for calibration errors or damage when they’ve been dropped or have endured a rough ride.
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