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Archive 2013 · Stolen Gear
  
 
Breitling65
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p.4 #1 · Stolen Gear


JimmyStephans wrote:
More interested in finding the person. New gear is easy to order and can arrive in two days.

Not knowing if the people that have been here 4 years, or 1 year, or part time over a couple of years, can be trusted is whats bugging me.



That could be arranged with hidden video camera ...



Jan 21, 2013 at 10:17 PM
Micky Bill
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p.4 #2 · Stolen Gear


You could get a nanny cam.
But they might steal the nanny cam next
The police don't care because it's a minor theft no one got hurt and it's a less $ value than a stolen 4 year old car. And harder to track down too!
Your gear probably found a new owner in Denver by now.




Jan 21, 2013 at 11:20 PM
JimmyStephans
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p.4 #3 · Stolen Gear


Rodney, Thanks again - well thought out stuff.

Few more comments and clarifications on my part.

(1) I have the entire second floor of the building. The lock box was on hand rail at top of stairs. There is nobody up here to look over shoulders. No walkins, no retail, just a staircase from parking lot up here. No people up here not related to my business except one day a month when an outside crew comes by and sweeps the steps and parking lots, or a pizza delivery now and then.

(2) Outside of keyholders I mentioned the only spare key was at my place around the corner. No tag on it indicating what it is. Tossed in a jar used to hold pens and pencils. Housekeeper has been with me almost 4 year and I have no indication she is ever looking in bottom of that jar.

(3) Landlord has office below me. See him often. He is a rather popular accident reconstruction engineer. He also owns several buildings around here and resort / vacation rental homes in mountain ski areas. He has two gals in his office. One that been there 12 years is wife of local police officer. The newer gal been there about 1 year and is daughter of first gal - thus daughter of police officer.

Truth is that a police car is in our lot often as he comes by on coffee breaks and brings take-out when his wife works late.

Landlord had been keeping a key in a grey wall mount key box sort of like used by a valet service or something. It includes keys to this building, and the other two he owns nearby. I gave a key in July because after that lock change his building master (like a cleaning service would have) wouldn't work.

He doesn't have one now - after the most recent lock change.

Yesterday we talked in his office for an extended time and he reported that these two incidents are just the second and third while owning these buildings 16 years+. The previous was across the street at a building now a pet supply store. It was ground level and entry through a window about 8 years ago.

Nikon user for his business needs.

(4) Crime level is very low here. Police department is real close. Its a historic district with cool places to eat and shop. No rowdy bars, strip clubs, etc.

(5) Both times I think I did a great job showing the patrol officer(s) what happened. Showed them my inventory spreadsheets, gave them serial numbers, printed out receipt copies from Amazon and Audorama so they had exact descriptions. In the case of the 70-200 one of my guys had found a unit on Craigslist for only $900 in a town 60 miles away and we printed that out for them.

(6) I am a bit confused by you stating I should trust the employees more. Prior to the first incident everybody working here had access by key or key box. After the first accident and lock change they all got the same access - by key or key box. Meaning, I have trusted them fully and continued to after the first incident.

Only now have I taken a second look at that. Everybody here - building owner, lawyer, and the patrol officer all agree or feel that its likely an "inside job". Remember, keys changed - but second incident happened less than 2 weeks later. No broken windows. No pry marks on doors. No marks on lock box. And, in both incidents they took specific items - not just an arm load.

They took the most expensive or newest camera in the place and the most expensive or newest lens in the place both times.

Very unlikely that its a stranger walking by the office, coming up stairs, getting in without a key or leaving marks, looking through all the bodies, and selecting one (in December) or walking past bodies, stepping over lighting cases and digging in the black bag for one item (most recent incident).





Edited on Jan 22, 2013 at 02:13 AM · View previous versions



Jan 22, 2013 at 12:40 AM
Rodney O
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p.4 #4 · Stolen Gear


JimmyStephans,

Thanks for the more detailed run down. Sounds like you're doing a lot pretty much exactly right on dealing with this.

The issue with it being important to trust your employees is that you need all the available eyes & ears on your side. You need their cooperation and they will need positive feedback and to be included in resolving this. You want to find ways to make them part of the solution. And reinforce your leadership.

While it may not seem like it now, things can go a lot worse. So you don't want throw out the baby with the bath water, so to speak. If it was an employee, you may find it out. But if you focus on retaliation, you will most likely end up paying a higher price than is warranted.

Yes it's a personal insult both the invasive nature of the crime and the possibility that it might be one of your people. But be cautious and concerned not scared and paranoid. And I understand that anger is hard to dismiss after an incident like this one.

You will be in general better served by having at least some allies among the employees than having no allies. But while I might not tell them every detail of the alarm system, I would get them involved in that process too.

That's what I am taking about when I say for you to involve your employees and not to end up distrusting them as much as it sounds like you may be doing.

Glad that you have liked my contributions to your thread. PM me if you want more information on analyzing this for the likely culprit.

Rodney





Jan 22, 2013 at 01:14 AM
JimmyStephans
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p.4 #5 · Stolen Gear


Rodney,

Thanks. I expect to have more information Tuesday afternoon or Wednesday morning. I'll be sure to return here as soon as I can.

Jimmy



Jan 22, 2013 at 02:08 AM
Tim Knutson
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p.4 #6 · Stolen Gear


Here's a thought. Lets just say the skumbag has a computer, and knows you. And perhaps he knows about this forum. Now he knows where the good stuff is and about the locks and ..........

Just saying



Jan 23, 2013 at 02:04 AM
JimmyStephans
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p.4 #7 · Stolen Gear


Tim,

That is a good point... But at least he would know about new locks and know about fireproof metal gear locker and also about the security system install.

Maybe that will keep him away.



Jan 23, 2013 at 04:50 PM
JimmyStephans
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p.4 #8 · Stolen Gear


Wednesday evening update...

Spent hours today with lawyers and P.I. The news is this:

1- Call to police confirmed. Even at about $8800 they don't do much more than add serials numbers to a statewide database pawnshops check.

2- Discussion of polygraphs went well but we decided an outside firm would do interviews first of all those with keys or key access.

3- Hired Armstead and Associates P. I. Firm to do everything from interview the people with key access to review security here, and if they feel its needed do the polygraph thing.

4- The law firm is going to do all the talking, along with the P. I.. Keep me from having tough talks with employees.

More news as soon as I have it.



Jan 24, 2013 at 03:46 AM
Bifurcator
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p.4 #9 · Stolen Gear


I read all of the thread posts by you JS,

I have lots of fist hand experience from the bad side of this sort of goings on whence in high school (probably before you were born) and everything to me so far smells like an outside job - not inside. Cops are stupid. At least 95% of the time they get the entire thing wrong!

If this were an inside job the person would likely want it to look like a break-in. About 80% chance! The other 20% is a friend of the insider pulling the caper without their friend knowing it and are being all cat-burglar about it. So there is a slim chance of that. Typically that type of person will take more stuff tho.

Typically there are two kinds of outside jobs. Pros and kids. Pros take everything so that's ruled out. And with kids there are also typically two types: The kind that come in and destroy the place and the overly cautious thrill-seeker the later of which will only leave a turd smear behind in your toilet bowel as any evidence someone was ever there. And this is what this smells like to me. They usually only take a few things they can carry out and that their parents won't notice - hidden in their bedroom. Just like you're describing here.

A million to one says they are under 18 and live within walking distance of your office! Another million says they won't try and sell it anywhere it'll show up on watch-lists and so on. They'll try to use it if they can for awhile and if their thief pals don't steel it from them first they'll trade it off for weed or whatever they're in to. Someone has found a way into your building and I guess it's thru the 2nd story window if indeed your office has an inner bolted steel door. The other way in is of course broadcast all over the place into every teenager's bedroom these days. If that info had been available when I was in HS way back then you can bet on the fact those guys would be making use of it and taking the challenge.

So that's my take on it having been exposed (a lot!) to that sort of element. If you wanna know who it is and think there's even a small chance it might happen again put a nanny-cam in there and have it transmit to a plugged in recording device what lasts days or weeks - or a nanny-cam that is triggered by motion.



Jan 24, 2013 at 04:32 PM
JimmyStephans
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p.4 #10 · Stolen Gear


Bifurcator

Thanks for the words. In some ways I hope that is right - but odds don't favor it.

All three doors are the same thick steel with handle locks and deadbolts. They have no marks and new locks as of few days before most recent incident.

The second floor windows are plate glass and do not open. None are cracked, broken, have a weather seal broken, etc.

Thanks link is scary.



Jan 24, 2013 at 10:21 PM
 

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Micky Bill
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p.4 #11 · Stolen Gear


JimmyStephans wrote:
Wednesday evening update...

Spent hours today with lawyers and P.I. The news is this:

1- Call to police confirmed. Even at about $8800 they don't do much more than add serials numbers to a statewide database pawnshops check.

2- Discussion of polygraphs went well but we decided an outside firm would do interviews first of all those with keys or key access.

3- Hired Armstead and Associates P. I. Firm to do everything from interview the people with key access to review security here, and if they feel its needed do the polygraph thing.

4- The law firm is going to do all the talking,
...Show more

Although this is interesting you might want to dial down the play by play of what who and how you are planning to proceed. The more you go into solving the crime and hiring lawyers and outside firms and PIs (really? they still exist outsode the movies??) instead of filing an insurance claim and moving on the less you should be talking about it.



Jan 24, 2013 at 11:17 PM
lara_ckl
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p.4 #12 · Stolen Gear


Micky Bill wrote:
Although this is interesting you might want to dial down the play by play of what who and how you are planning to proceed. The more you go into solving the crime and hiring lawyers and outside firms and PIs (really? they still exist outsode the movies??) instead of filing an insurance claim and moving on the less you should be talking about it.


Maybe this is a good test for your PI. See how long before he/she stumbles on this thread.



Jan 24, 2013 at 11:47 PM
gschlact
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p.4 #13 · Stolen Gear


Also, can you remind us, we're the locks changed before 1st and 2nd, after the 2nd or both?
Also, whether employee or not, (and I realize you want it to be outside job), do Remember that they somewhat knew your schedule, and also, they knew to look into the black bag for the food stuff. Think about it, why would unfamiliar person hunk to look inside a bag on the floor when there are shelves full of equipment. Even if he knew you owned the equipment, wouldn't they assume you had it with you if they didn't see it on the shelf? Do the two I consents correlate to you working with some other vendor at a gig? They might be someone aware of your schedule and equipment without being 'inside' and if technical nigh have also used YouTube. If not, unfortunately, it would appear minimally that an inside person assisted on the thefts.

Guy



Jan 25, 2013 at 05:57 AM
Bifurcator
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p.4 #14 · Stolen Gear


JimmyStephans wrote:
Bifurcator

Thanks for the words. In some ways I hope that is right - but odds don't favor it.

All three doors are the same thick steel with handle locks and deadbolts. They have no marks and new locks as of few days before most recent incident.

The second floor windows are plate glass and do not open. None are cracked, broken, have a weather seal broken, etc.

Thanks link is scary.


The windows don't open? At all? Wow. But watch those videos... picking a lock leaves no marks dissimilar to what a key does. For example: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BnS6leHfB2c



Jan 25, 2013 at 08:38 AM
Aaron D
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p.4 #15 · Stolen Gear


Great advice here that I can't really improve upon. I would like to add a couple things though.

1. If my employer were to give me a polygraph, I would either - A. refuse and risk losing my job or B. Quit on the spot. If innocent, that would be an insult to me.
"Questioning", "interviewing", etc by either my boss, another employee or private investigator would also insult me and would probably lead to me quitting. I'm sure there may be some legalities involved in this as well that could come back to haunt you. Leave this up to the police, that's what your tax money pays them to do. They work for you!

2. Don't set up hidden cameras for security monitoring. That's another insult. Put them in plain sight.

3. Suspect anyone, and everyone, that had access. I hate to say this, but not doing so will partly leave your guard down. Just don't go around advertising that you suspect Mr. X or Ms. Y. . It is true that "one person has to ruin it for everyone." Don't see much mention of the landlord. A lot of times, it's the person you least suspect.

I worked for a locksmith years ago as a teenager. It's amazing how easy your average, big box store, locks are to pick. I can pretty much promise you that I could pick the lock on your front door with nothing more than a pair electronics tweezers. I've actually kept the same pair for 15 years specifically for picking my own locks in case I lose a key. When changing locks, don't skimp out. Only buy reputable brands and don't buy those "sets" where you get 4 locks that use the same key. This is a big no-no. Each lock should have it's own, different, key. Consider using a "cage" as mentioned earlier, where gear has to be checked in and out and only you have the key. Or it's an electronic lock and everyone has their own code. Each time it's entered, it's logged. Does it have to have a key? Use the types of locks that require a special, cylindrical, key. Like those used on vending machines. Extremely difficult to pick.

Last bit of advice....layers. But not the type we have in our favorite photo editors. Layers as in multiple security layers. The more layers, the more time is required by a thief. Time is a thief's worst enemy.

Good luck and hope you catch the spineless bastard that did this. Also keep in mind that the two incidents may not actually be related. You must consider any, and every, option.



Jan 25, 2013 at 10:14 AM
GWMT
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p.4 #16 · Stolen Gear


Fire proof safe, HEAVY, max insurance. Those doors and locks can be gotten into in less than ten sec.s The more you tell the more they know.


Jan 28, 2013 at 07:17 AM
Aaron D
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p.4 #17 · Stolen Gear


GWMT wrote:
Fire proof safe, HEAVY, max insurance. Those doors and locks can be gotten into in less than ten sec.s The more you tell the more they know.


Good thought. A large closet type gun safe would work probably be better for this scenario. One of those can probably be had for a lot less than a fire safe large enough to accommodate all that gear. You can get quite large ones starting at around $1000. Whereas a Gardall 4820 will run $3k+
Good example of large gun safe from Cabellas - http://tinyurl.com/abccmy7 Largest model on that page is $1250.

Also, if you look at a closet type gun safe, vs a large fire safe, you will notice something. A lot of gun safes don't have visible hinges, while the fire safes usually do. In a theft prevention scenario, you don't want external hinges. With internal type hinges, it's much harder to gain unauthorized entry.

You can get fire "proof" gun safes as well. But those, like other fire rated safes, usually have external hinges. The reason being is the material used inside the cabinet walls doesn't leave much space for internal hinges. Keep in mind that fire "proof" is a misnomer too. No safe is fire proof, and even if the fire is put out within the time limit the safe is rated for, chances are the temperature inside the safe will probably have exceeded the "safe limit" for sensitive electronic gear like cameras and lenses. The safe basically is turned into an oven. :/

When I lived in WA, I had a fire safe in my garage. It was the size of a large mini fridge at about 30x30x30. It had to be moved with a forklift and the internal volume was about 1.25cu ft. Not much room at all for such a large safe. It was pretty much bomb proof though. lol



Jan 30, 2013 at 12:12 AM
wsmeyer
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p.4 #18 · Stolen Gear


Since you were nice enough to store the camera gear in the shipping room, I think one of your employees just started posting stuff for sale somewhere and then just ships them out as they sell.


Jan 31, 2013 at 08:45 PM
Bifurcator
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p.4 #19 · Stolen Gear


Just to add to what Aaron D said, I wouldn't put up with a polygraph test either. I'd quit immediately unless I was making over $10K a month or something. Same goes for pee-testing too. No was Jose, that pee is mine and you ain't get'en a drop! My blood neither!

I'd be OK with short-term hidden cameras tho.



Feb 05, 2013 at 04:07 AM
gschlact
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p.4 #20 · Stolen Gear


any updates you can share JimmyStephans?


Feb 06, 2013 at 12:15 AM
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