Caught red-handed:
Telematics system leads to recovery of missing excavators

Vintage Police Car

A recent global fraud report showed that more than one third of construction, engineering and infrastructure firms were victims of theft during a one-year period. Count Jackson Plumbing and Ates Construction as members of that unlucky group as both companies had Komatsu compact excavators stolen from jobsites.

One morning Alan Ates, Owner of Ates Construction, needed his Komatsu PC55MR excavator for an emergency water-line repair, only it wasn’t where he left it the evening before.

“We were doing a job and had parked the machine for the night at a designated yard,” explained Ates. “I got an emergency call to repair a ruptured water line the next morning and sent my guys to pick up the machine and take it to the new job. When they told me the excavator and the trailer it was on were missing, I called the police and then my Komatsu Sales Rep.”

PC55MR Excavator owned by Alan Ates was stolen and recovered by Komtrax telematics system
Ates Construction Owner Alan Ates (second from right) is pictured with his crew and the company’s PC55MR excavator, which was stolen and subsequently recovered with the help of Komatsu’s KOMTRAX telematics system.

Within minutes, using Komatsu’s KOMTRAX telematics system, the distributor pinpointed the PC55MR’s location about three hours away in another state. By simply entering the serial number of the machine, KOMTRAX showed the exact location of the stolen excavator. The police department in the city where the excavator was taken, quickly confirmed the PC55MR’s location and secured the machine.

Information from KOMTRAX, as well as surveillance and other video, enabled police to trace the time line of the machine’s theft to its recovery, helping them build a case against the thieves.

Another happy ending

Jeremy Jackson, Owner of Jackson Plumbing, says his firm’s Komatsu PC35MR compact excavator was also taken from a jobsite.

“One weekend, someone came along, hooked onto the trailer the machine was on and drove off with both of them,” said Jackson. “We discovered them missing on Monday morning and contacted the owner of the project to see if he had taken the machine to a different jobsite. That wasn’t the case, so we quickly contacted our Komatsu distributor to locate it.”

The distributor pulled up the identifying information for excavator on KOMTRAX and quickly detected that PC35MR was parked about four hours away. Within ten minutes, KOMTRAX pinpointed the location of the missing machine to the backyard of a new house under construction, and it transferred the coordinates to Google Maps. Because it was new construction, Google Maps couldn’t give an address, but it was able to provide a description of the building. The distributor then forwarded that information to local law enforcement.

“The sheriff confirmed the machine was there, and the next day we had someone pick it up,” said Jackson. “KOMTRAX has definitely proven its value to us.”

PC35MR excavator was stolen but recovered using Komtrax telematic system
Jackson Plumbing Owner Jeremy Jackson stands next to his company’s PC35MR excavator that was stolen and recovered when KOMTRAX pinpointed the machine’s location.

More than a location tracker

KOMTRAX was designed for more than locating a stolen machine. Customers can also call their distributors with service codes to find out what needs to be fixed. The service technicians know what the codes mean, so they can take the needed parts and make only one trip, which saves time and lowers costs. Customers can check equipment hours, idle time and other valuable information with KOMTRAX as well.

For more details on Komatsu’s KOMTRAX machine-monitoring system, contact your Komatsu distributor here.

 

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