The theft of tools is big business for thieves. Thousands of euros worth of tools are been stolen nationwide on a daily basis
Recently as reported by independent.ie Jack O'Brien, director of Town & Country Builders, said these "organised" thefts are also having a detrimental effect on the construction industry.
"Tools are being stolen to order and tradespeople cannot claim on their insurance for fear that their premiums will rise sharply,"
Recently a self-employed roofer, based in Ballymun who talked to Independent.ie, told how equipment worth over €4,000 was taken from his van while he worked. He received a tip-off that the tools would be on sale at a car boot sale in the north Dublin area and bought them back for €1,500 the following weekend.
"I would have had to pay €4,000 to replace them anyway, so I just bought them back. It's ridiculous what is going on and there's not much we can do as these people know where you live. It's not worth the risk to do or say anything,”.
Michael Hunt who also talked to independent.ie, owner of Locktec Locksmiths in Westpoint Business Park, said he has created three full-time positions this year due to the "amount of tools being stolen."
"On average, we are fitting anything from 40 to 50 vans a week," he said.
"It is absolutely rampant. Just this morning I had four lads come into me who had their tools taken. It has always happened but lately it's just gotten crazy. More people are back working and these people are back robbing tools worse than ever."
He said the damage done to the vehicles is often so minimal that people don't know their tools are taken until they actually get into the van.
"We install safer locks but there's not much you can do if they come along and cut a hole in the side of your van," he said.
"The people who are buying these tools at car boot sales or whatever, and who aren't even questioning where they came from, are just as bad if you ask me."
These are not just an isolated incidences. Operation Thor which recently targeted Burglary and Theft intercepted two vehicles (one stolen) at Dublin Port.
During this stop and search operation a large quantity of stolen industrial power tools and gardening machinery were seized and two Irish men, aged 38 and 29 years were arrested for Handling of Stolen Property. The value of the stolen property seized in this investigation is estimated at upward of €50,000.
A number of other major tool seizures have been made by gardai in the past five months.
Here is some security advice to protect your van:
• Don’t leave your van unlocked and unattended or windows open
• Obvious but many have done it and still do, whether it’s on the road outside a customer’s house, or stopping in a shop on the way home from work. Leaving a van unlocked can leave the door wide open to opportunistic thefts, and also invalidate some insurance polices too.
• Don't leave any valuables such as phones or sat-navs visible
• If possible, remove tools, from the van, especially when leaving it overnight;
• Park in busy, well-lit areas only;
• Visible security features can be a strong deterrent to theft or break-in, so consider steering or handbrake locks, and mesh grilles on load-bay windows.
• If you have a GPS tracker or an alarm, make sure that thieves know about it by placing a warning sticker on your van - it can be more than enough to put them off. If you cannot afford a tracker then even a sticker has some deterrent.
Boomerang Tracker has a range of trackers that can help protect van owners tools and livelihoods . A lock will not stop a thieve if he cuts a hole in the side of the van but with a Boomerang GPS lock
you will at least be notified in the event of vibration of the van. This can be set to high sensitivity. You would then receive an alert to your mobile phone that someone is tampering with your van. The same applies if the Lock is tampered with or damaged in anyway.
We also recommend putting a small GPS tracker on one or more of your tools. Even if you just had one tracked the chances are that you will recover all if you can track and locate that particular one.