By Steve Noe
Working as a journalist in today’s fast-paced world, where virtually everyone has the necessary means to be a journalist, I realize that news can break and go viral on the Internet in an instant. However, in my nearly 14 years as editor of Outdoor Power Equipment (OPE) magazine, I can’t recall a year in which I’ve heard, or read, more stories about OPE dealers being victimized by shoplifters and burglars.
In March 2011 OPE, you may recall me writing in my “Madness before March” column about the 21-year-old man who walked into Ross Seed Company, a True Value hardware store in Chickasha, Okla., during normal business hours on February 16, walked out with an Echo chain saw tucked in his shorts, was chased down by employees, and eventually pulled from a shallow creek by police and arrested. In March, I received word that two ATVs were stolen from Newton Outdoor Power Equipment in Benton, Ky.
You may also remember hearing about the April 14 story of two men reportedly breaking into Sharp’s Outdoor Power Equipment in Georgetown (Seattle), Wash., and being confronted by an employee who fatally shot one man, who was carrying a chain saw, and then held the other man at gunpoint until police arrived.
In early May, two 39-year-old men were implicated in a three-year series of chain saw thefts targeting Stihl dealers in central Indiana, including three burglaries and break-ins at Humphreys’ Outdoor Power in Greencastle. They were finally caught in the act while breaking into Reynolds Farm Equipment in Fishers, Ind.
Also, in early May, another two-man team was caught on surveillance tape stealing two chain saws from Smith Outdoor Power Equipment in Abilene, Texas. Unfortunately, the thieves went undetected until the following day when employees noticed that the chain saws were missing and then Don Smith, the store’s owner, reviewed the surveillance tape. On the tape, Smith spotted a man, who was wearing a baseball cap, walk into the store while appearing to be talking on a cell phone at approximately 11:30 a.m. After only about a minute, he ran out of the store with the chain saws and jumped into the backseat of a car that made a clean getaway.
Each time I hear about one of these unfortunate incidents, I wish that there was something more that I could do to not only help the victims, but also prevent another OPE dealer from being victimized by a shoplifter or burglar.
That is why I decided to devote this column and much of this issue of OPE to business security. The cover story, titled “Deter, detect, prevent: A three-pronged approach to safety and security,” pages 14-15, will provide you expert advice from Jeff Johnson of Interlogix, a UTC Fire and Security Company (formerly GE Security), on how to establish a security program to prevent loss of life and property. Immediately following the cover story on pages 16-17, “Dealers’ Domain” will provide you more great advice from many of your fellow dealers as to how to protect your dealership from shoplifters and burglars.
I hope that you will take the time to read everyone’s input and make the necessary adjustments to your dealership for the safety of you and your employees.
Always remember that it’s better to be safe than sorry.
OPE Editor Steve Noe