There is nothing quite like that feeling in the bottom of your stomach when you discover you have been robbed. Heaps of questions buzz around your head and you can feel ripped off and vulnerable.

Who was it?
Why did they do it?
How did they get in to my house, van, truck, shed, garage?
What else did they take?
Are they still here?
How much is it going to cost me to replace the tools?
Chances are this will probably happen to you or someone you know and probably more than once. If we are smart we can take steps to protect ourselves from this, know what to do when this does happen, and even increase the opportunity for recovery of our stolen goods.

Chance Favours the Prepared

Undoubtedly, knowing exactly what has been stolen by make and model, the serial numbers and any other special markings on each tool will increase your chances of recovery.

Most people don’t have any type of list for logging their tool’s details however using a system that helps you to keep track of all your tool’s details and whereabouts can be beneficial when tools get stolen. That way if your garage is robbed and you cant find your Dewalt Jigsaw you can review your Tool log and determine if it was even in your garage to be stolen.

The big problem with keeping paper lists or even digital spreadsheets, is information currency. That is, how easy is it to update this when you buy a new tool, sell some tools or if you do fall victim to a thief? Additionally do you recall where you have filed it, which directory on your hard drive it is stored and oh…was your PC with your tool log stolen when they nabbed your tools? – Is your carefully prepared list gone too?!

Knowing what thieves will do with your tools can also help you in your theft preparation and prevention. In most cases they probably want to pawn tools for cash or sell it ‘out the back of a truck’ for some quick money. Knowing that thieves will try to remove serial numbers from the tools, consider engraving a secret code or marking your tools with a permanent ultraviolet marker that can only be seen under ultraviolet light. Often Police and second hand dealers and pawnbrokers will have ultraviolet lights to check for these markings and this also provides a back-up to a serial number.

The Process

This is actually pretty simple and it doesn’t matter if you are going to write the details down in a notebook or diary, store them in a PC or mobile phone, or if you are going to use an online service, the information you should collect is the same.

1. Manufacturer or Brand

2. Type of tool – power drill, jigsaw etc.

3. Model

4. Serial number

This is basic information you should collect for all of your tools so that you and police can identify the tool as yours if stolen. You should also photograph your tools and look for any special markings, dings or dents. Just be sure you download your photos from your phone or camera in case these items get stolen and also check out how to store your photographs online as a backup.

For insurance purposes you might like to log the purchase date and amount if you can remember and even attach or scan your receipts. This is another advantage of using a system to log your tools. As you buy more tools you can simply add them to your tool log, store all of your receipts and photographs electronically. Before you know it you will have a comprehensive list of all of tools details, serials, pictures and purchase information.

The Aftermath

If your tools get stolen you need to take your up-to-date tool log to police and lodge a burglary report. Depending on how well you have maintained your tool log you should be able to provide a comprehensive list with pictures, serial numbers and alike which will make for a more complete report and make it easier for police to identify ownership when they recover stolen goods.

You should also contact your insurance company, assuming you had your tools insured or the contents of the burgled premises or vehicle insured, and lodge a claim. Be sure you carefully consider the replacement costs versus your deductable or excess.

If you have to buy new tools or your insurance company pays out, be sure to start your tool log right away!

Tips For Future Preparation

1. If you are using a permanent ultraviolet pen to mark your tools with a secret code be sure to do it every year as even permanent markers wear off over time as the tools are used.

2. Spend a little time and take photographs of each of your tools ensuring to photograph any special markings, dents, scratches and alike that will enable you and police to more easily identify it.

3. Ask your insurance company for a discount if you provide them a detailed tool log with all your tool’s brands, models, serial numbers and purchase information clearly listed.

4. Keep your tool log up to date. If you buy a new tool – add it. If you sell a tool – update it. If you tools are stolen – mark and report them.

5. Get down to your local police station and see if they will loan you an engraving machine as many of them have this and they will loan it for free.



By yanam49

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