Underbelly driving equipment theft

The Construction and Mining Equipment Industry Group and the Civil Contractors Federation recently hosted a summit on construction industry theft attended by representatives from law enforcement, customs, insurance and finance.Research revealed at the summit indicated theft of construction equipment costs the industry around $50 million annually.Organised gangs are lured into stealing heavy equipment because of the high price the gear commands, CMEIG chief executive John Reid said.“One stolen excavator will easily bring in the same return as four or five Commodores,” Reid said.“Another thing that makes heavy equipment theft attractive and lucrative is that there is no consistent national and industry-wide system of easy identification – so there is no need for sophisticated rebirthing.” Reid said equipment theft by organised gangs was generally well planned by people who had intimate knowledge of the industry and once stolen the equipment was rarely recovered.CCF chief executive Chris White said family-owned contractors and owner-operators were the worst affected by equipment theft.“While all types of equipment are being stolen, small machines make up the bulk of thefts,” White said. “Most equipment stolen is between brand-new and five years old – with the average age being two years.“This would appear to indicate that smaller contractors and owner-operators, with only a few items of gear, are disproportionately being affected by this problem.”National Motor Theft Reduction Council executive director Ray Carroll said the summit identified DataDotDNA technology as the best long-term strategy.CMEIG and CCF teamed up last year to initiate a program to have all new and much existing equipment marked with DataDotDNA, a whole-of-vehicle marking microdot spray.“Adoption of the DataDotDNA initiative by a significant proportion of the industry’s importers and wholesalers was seen as being a major positive step in the right direction,” Carroll said.

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