One of my "friends" (more like a guy i know but don't like to associate with too much) invited me over for beer (a.k.a. his toilet broke and he's an idiot and can't fix it himself, and I'm too nice).
After I fixed his toiled and we downed a few brews, he said he had something to show me. We went to the basement, and he showed me a 5 gallon bucket of tools. I saw some marks engraved on the tools that I recognized...
When I lost my job at Lowes and had 3 weeks before I started my new job, I was going to the day labor place and I actually met a decent person there. He was an electrician, but had an accident when a forktruck ran into his scaffolding. He got a settlement, and works casual jobs because he can't stand for more than 8 to 9 hours on a good day, and he doesn't wanna sit around being bored. He showed me some of his tools, many were from the 1940's and still going strong. It was his mark I saw.
I call the electrician up, and he confirms that his tools were missing. I then go back to my "friend's" house, and try to make him feel guilty about taking the tools. I told him that he deprived a hard working person of his means to make a living, and that he had two options: I would turn him in, or he could turn himself in, and I would go down with him.
He ended up turning himself in. Come court day, the electrician and I showed up. The electrician asked the judge that my "friend" get community service in lieu of jail, since he got his tools back and it was his first offense. I testified that my "friend" is an okay guy, but does alot of things without thinking (which is very true).
Long story short, the electrician (my real firend) got his tools back, my "friend" got 2 weeks in jail and 60 hours of community service and learned his lesson, and isn't bitter towards me. He actually thanked me for saving his butt. I'm sure he saved his own butt a bit by turning himself in, but most of all, I'm glad the electrician got his tools back.
Wow - you are and have been generous on the issue! I would have taken out everytime I have had my tools stolen, and every time someone else attempted to steal them out on his head. My tools or not, some jerk trys to sell me obviously stolen tools is taking thier life into thier own hands. I'm not usually one for a temper, but things like that I actually have to restrain myself from assault - I see that person as the perpetrator of the thousands (Nearly $10k) I have lost, and the cause of several periods of grief replacing them all at the worst time. (Like there would be a good time...)
Now I don't mean to pry, but his person brought you down to his basement for the express purpose of showing off what he had stolen? Clepto? Or some other mental disorder?
Mark Heller "Well - I oughta....." -Jackie Gleason
Wow, nice job PE. It takes guts to do the right thing. We would all like to think we would do the right thing too, but when it comes down to it, sometimes it can be tough when the situation is right in front of you. Well done, and well handled.
e57 - I think he wanted to show off the nifty tools. I don't think he's mental, just a little (a lot) dumb. He doesn't even know what the Kleins wire strippers did, or what the chassis punches were for. I don't think he was gonna sell them. I think it was more a bad prank than anything. He is pretty dumb, but generally a good person, so I'm about 85% sure this was his first crime (not counting underage drinking and stuff like that).
If he wasn't gonna turn himself in, I would have turned him in. I know people (although, they were teens, and not in his 30's like this guy) that did something stupid and went to jail, and it messed them up more. I really had to refrain from ripping this guy's head off. The electrician figured that having him do community service was better for the community than locking him up and spending taxpayer's money, especially because the theif turned himself and realized what a mistake he made (and I agree with the electrician). I definitely didn't wanna let him go scott free, but I do believe that in this individual situation, community service was the best option. After all, the electrician got his tools back, the theif learned a lesson, and our 10 city playgrounds have been cleaned up (including removing drug needles!). Most importantly, I was able to turn someone's life around... or at least give him a push in the right direction.
As far as shoplifters and people who steal from jobsites, they know what they're doing was wrong, and there is a lot less hope for them. The theif I told you about felt bad after I told him the part about stealing tools is taking away someone's living. Most theives know that, and they don't care. These people do need to be locked up, or on chain gangs. Like I said before, if my friend wouldn't have turned himself in and realized his "prank" went too far, then I'd want him to go to jail for a normal sentence.
I don't know where my patience for this guy comes from, maybe I can see some good in most people that others can't.
Anyways, I hope I don't create any controversy on this board because this guy got off easy. Hopefully I stopped a person who made one dumb decision from being a repeat offender, and stealing someone else's tools.
Like others, I too have been the victim of theft. Just a sinking feeling going out to your truck and finding the doors wide open, and the toolbox lid up with everything gone. I had to go to the jobsite empty handed. Took me almost a month to recover from that. Like every other electrician here, my tools are my livelyhood. Since that day, everything I have comes inside with me. (Garage)
Be alert for people out of place. I had an apprentice picking up after a long day of remodel work. He had noticed two guys in a car parked on the no-parking side of the street in a residential neighbor across from the service van. As he got to the door of the house (On his last trip of loading up the van), he noticed one of the guys was hopping out of the back of the service van - with his huge tool bag. The van was parked directly in front of the house which is about 40' from the front door so he wasn't locking it after every trip. Well he chased the car the two guys were in down the street but could not get a license plate number. They took ALL his tools (inlcuding his new 18v Dewalt set), his shirt, and his lunch bucket!
For all here: and I should note, I know this topic all too well.
An ounce of prevention goes a real, really long way. In my case I have about 3 tons... The times I have actually had tools stolen were years ago. Since then, I have taken some action to make everything as hard to steal as possible. There are no windows on my van any longer in the back, the exterior locks are not connected to anything - power door lock only - and the inside handles are disabled. They auto lock if you forget. The bulkhead wall is screwed shut, and has drawers in front of it. All tools are stored in a gang box that can not be opened without opening one of the doors, but if you do that, the alarms go off. It has two alarms that are pretty sensitive - one calls me on the phone, the other kills the engine. And an inexpensive GPS locator for recovery. (havent used that yet) I have two hidden cameras that watch the truck all night parked in front of my house. (For eveidence only) And flood lights that make my portion of the street look like noon at midnight. And if there is the slightest noise, or my alarm goes off, or anyones elses alarm goes off, I go out and confront them face to face - then I call the cops...
All of my tools are marked heavily, "Not for sale - ever - if lost or stolen: call ########" and other things to that effect.
That said there have been many attempts, but my only loss has been in the form of glass, nothing missing. The act of being proactive can wear on you, but better than the alternative.
Next step is moving the stuff inside by getting something I can fit in my garage, or make my garage bigger.
Personally I wish all tool companies would offer something like this That only allow you to use your tools. Like a universal key fob lock that can be programmed into the tool. If all professional tools were like that there might be a lot less theft.
Mark Heller "Well - I oughta....." -Jackie Gleason