Stolen Tow Truck in San Antonioby Director of Operations on 09/29/12
You may not have noticed, unless you were a victim, San Antonio has seen a dramatic increase in motor vehicle theft and it seems there is nothing you can do to combat this unfortunate crime. At Collateral Recovery Team we experienced this first hand.
Imagine its 4 am waking up to start your shift and walking outside only to find your $65,000 tow truck has been taken. One of our agents had this exact same thing happen to him just last night. Many would not know what to do other than call the police and file a police report. Although our team did do these immediately we also took it personally that someone would launch an attack on our family, privacy, security and income.
Many companies use some type of GPS device to combat theft. However, it seems thieves are looking for this as soon as they enter the vehicle. We installed two devices. One was a magnetic portable device from Morse GPS and one is a GoldStar hard mount unit. The Morse device is placed in the vehicle semi hidden and the GoldStar unit was installed in a way that it cannot be found unless the entire dash is taken apart.
Within 4 minutes of the vehicle being stolen we pinged the handheld device and sure enough it showed the unit was only a few miles away from where it was taken. Police were dispatched and of course the vehicle was not there. The thieves found the first unit and tossed it thinking it was the only one. This was at about 4:22 am so there was not any day light to see the unit on the side of the road in tall grass. The first next step we took was to logon to Google and find an aerial view of the entire area. We then used our skills of tracking to determine the reason the route was taken and see if there were any locations in the area that could be used for dumping or stashing a vehicle of this size. Unfortunately the road the GPS was pinging was about 15 miles long and was all brush land and large ranch properties. The sheriff’s officers looked around for about 30 minutes and could not do anything more for us. Now, the problem we had is when we purchased this vehicle we asked the local finance company we financed it through to install a GPS on it in case it was stolen. They did it right in front of us and took extra steps to conceal it like we asked. What we did not expect is that we would not be able to get a hold of them for several hours until they opened. We learned to get a 24 hour contact number in case a ping is needed. Or you can always have one installed yourself. Based on the aerial view the location they dumped the GPS caused them to take a certain road that gave us the impression it was still in the area. A few of our agents drove their personal vehicles around the 10 mile long road we suspected until daylight. Almost 4 hours later our finance company opened and was able to give us an exact location of the unit. We then called the local sheriff’s office and they came to recovery our vehicle. While finding our unit they also found other stolen vehicles.
If it was not for the fact we had two completely different GPS unit on this wrecker we would never have found our unit. This is evident by the fact other trucks were back there that had been reported as stolen weeks before. Aside from missing equipment and the damage they caused breaking into it we were able to get the agent back on the road within only 8 hours of the time it was missing. For many without the precautions we took and the tenacity of our staff this would have caused an estimated loss of about $15,000 in income. Not including the deductible for the insurance claim.We hope you find this article informational please feel free to reply