Police and the Equipment Industry in the eastern region are cautioned to be on guard for thefts generated by the anticipated clean-up efforts.
Equipment owners, dealers and rental companies throughout the eastern seaboard and neighboring areas should make equipment security an aspect of their response to the recent tragic disaster facing their region.
When the clean up efforts begin, the vulnerability of and demand for equipment will undoubtedly result in increased thefts; owners that take steps to address this will be less likely to be targeted.
Law Enforcement in adjoining areas may encounter equipment obtained through theft or fraud en route to the damage zones, or stolen due to the anticipated demand for equipment.
For Equipment Owners in the Impacted Areas:
- Where possible, do not allow crews to abandon machines on job sites. Return all equipment to yards or secure areas as soon as possible.
- Machines that must be left in the field should be disabled.
- Have operators document specifically which machines were left where, and how they were disabled. If parts were removed, document where they are stored for reinstallation.
- Normally, NER suggests machines be parked in highly visible areas to deter vandalism and theft. The storm’s impact on traffic volumes may limit the deterrence of public observation in some areas. If this is the case, machines should be concealed or parked out of view as well as disabled.
- Clearly post your contact information on and in your equipment; should emergency responders need access to your equipment, be sure they have the means to contact you.
- Update your NER registration: be sure your emergency contact details are current on your registration profile, and your inventory is current.
- Advise local Law Enforcement that you have equipment in the area and will assist emergency responders- they should contact you instead of commandeering the machines.
- As soon as practical, survey your equipment to be sure all machines are accounted for and report any missing units as soon as local Law Enforcement is able to respond. NER can record details on missing equipment on the NER system even if a police report cannot be made yet.
For Equipment Owners in Adjoining Areas:
Con artists and unscrupulous contractors will descend on the areas impacted by the disaster. Past storms show that they will collect equipment along the way, by theft and fraud. Do not let the increased business generated by the storms diminish your vigilance in protecting your assets.
- Specialty equipment like Brush Chippers, Stump Grinders, Pumps, Generators, Recycling and Remediation Equipment should particularly be protected.
- Excavation Equipment should not be left on job sites- rental companies should work with clients to educate them on their responsibility for machine security and the heightened theft threat.
- Do not let machines called off rent languish- get machines back to the yard or on to the next client as soon as possible. If pickup cannot be arranged, work with your client to secure the machine until you can retrieve it.
Rental Companies and Dealers must be wary of out of state customers and local customers you have no business history with.
- Verify local references- do not rely solely on names and phone numbers provided by the customer.
- Verify all credit account rentals by company employees unfamiliar to you- call a contact you know at the company to confirm authorization for the employee to rent.
- Get detailed information on where machines will be used, and check out the site. Contact the general contractor or property owner.
- Don’t assume a credit card is valid because the deposit pre-authorizes. Call the issuer to ensure there is no potential problem. Contact your card services fraud department for advise and assistance.
- Be very cautious if clients want to provide their own transportation- this is a common trend in both rental and purchase frauds. Insist on delivering machines, and educate your delivery personnel to recognize a suspicious drop off location.
- Think about how you will locate and retrieve the equipment if the transaction ends up fraudulent.
- Insist on a maintenance check on the machine.
- Require 24 or 48 hour rental renewal for unknown customers
- Conduct a spot check on machines to ensure the drop off location was not just a staging area to load your machines onto the thieve’s transport.
- Most importantly go with your gut, and communicate with your local industry. If something suspicious occurs, contact other local companies to keep a look out and report it to NER.
All owners should take this opportunity to be sure your NER registration is up to date. Be sure your emergency contact information is current, and update any new machine additions.
Communicate with local Law Enforcement. Let them know thefts potentially will be on the rise due to the catastrophe so that patrol personnel can be on alert for break ins and odd hour transports.
Please report thefts to NER as soon as possible- simply reply to this message with theft details, call NER at 866-663-7872 option 2, or submit a theft online at www.ner.net/report-a-theft.html.
NER’s headquarters in Jersey City, NJ, are operating with a diminished staff in the wake of the storm.
NER’s databases are fully operational for law enforcement.
NER’s best wishes go out to all of our friends, clients and Law Enforcement partners suffering the impact of Sandy.