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KCSO warns of recent theft of work trucks, tools

Posted at 11:43 AM, Feb 19, 2016
and last updated 2016-02-19 14:52:48-05

The Kern County Sheriff's Office released this following statement:

Identified Crime Trend:  High volume of calls received were for theft of work trucks, trailers, and industrial/commercial items such as tools, generators, tool boxes, landscaping equipment, etc.

Crime Prevention Tips to PREVENT or DETER the theft of work trucks, trailers, work tools, and/or industrial items.

-          Always park in a garage or secured area.  Any vehicle left parked outside is an easier target for theft.  If a vehicle or truck has the appearance of a work truck, it may be assumed to be more valuable if tools and equipment are thought to be inside the truck.  If possible, do not leave work trucks and/or work trailers parked overnight on public streets or roads.

-          Do not leave valuables inside work trucks or trailers.  Tools, generators, air compressors, shovels – all items should be removed from work trucks or trailers at the end of each day if possible.

-          Add additional security to your trailer regardless of where it is parked.  Use physical security items such as heavy duty wheel locks or trailer hitch locks.  Using these types of security features makes it apparent upon visual inspection that a trailer will not be easy and quick to steal or vandalize.  The more effort and time a criminal has to put in to stealing a vehicle or items in a vehicle the more likely they will pass and move on to a less-secured vehicle.

-          Many companies and business owners have installed small GPS units in work trucks and trailers due to high rates of theft.  Such a device can allow the owner track your vehicle’s location, and can also help authorities locate a stolen vehicle or trailer.

-          Always maintain inventory of all work-related tools and items.  Keep secure lists of all work-related items, including: date purchased, brand, color, make, model, cost at purchase, and most importantly the SERIAL NUMBER.  Keeping track of serial numbers is one of the most important things a resident can do.  The serial number of any stolen item is immediately logged into a database shared by all law enforcement agencies.  Pawn shops are also required to run items and check this stolen database as well – making it less likely the stolen items can be pawned. If good records are kept of items and serial numbers, when those items come into the possession of law enforcement they can then be returned to the owner.

-          If an item does not have a serial number, create your own “owner applied” number.  A good rule of thumb is to etch the item, not paint it, as paint can be removed much easier.  Etching equipment is extremely affordable and etchers can be reused, even applied to items inside the home as well.  For an owner applied number on an item without a serial number, etch your California Driver’s license with a dash (-) and then a unique number.

For example, old tools with no serial numbers could be etched as the following:

CA XXXXXXXX – 1

CA XXXXXXXX – 2

CA XXXXXXXX – 3

As long as items have a unique number and that number is provided in the Sheriff’s Office theft report, the items can be traced back to the original owner. Please do NOT use your social security number.

  • - Please be a responsible consumer.  If items are being sold for prices far below market value, and/or by an individual that is not a licensed merchant, use extreme caution.  Require proof all serial numbers on an item, and call the Sheriff’s Office Non-Emergency Number (800) 861-3110 and request a check to make sure the items are not reported stolen before purchasing.  When purchasing a work vehicle or trailer, require all appropriate registration and proof of ownership in addition to checking with DMV before purchasing.
  •  -If the victim of a theft, it is important that residents report every incident, regardless of how small.  Even if insurance covers the loss of an item, the Sheriff’s Office still needs to be notified of the theft.  It is important that all thefts are reported as soon as they are discovered to prevent the resale of an item which has not been logged into our serial number database yet.