App helps tradies to fight tool theft
There’s nothing worse than getting back to your ute to find some grub has stolen your power tools. Unfortunately, it’s an all too common story that has likely already burnt you or one of your mates. But when this next happens are you ready and able to give all your tool details to police and insurance companies?
An idea was born
Gayle Neville from Brisbane came up with the novel idea to create a virtual toolbox where tradies could register all their equipment, including serial numbers, in one safe location. In the event of items being stolen, the records stored on the Tool Protect app could be accessed quickly and tools later identified if recovered.
The idea by Gayle was hatched after listening to her husband Dan, a police officer, talk about his frustration at how little could be done to recover stolen tools. With the help of her four adult sons and their wives, Tool Protect was developed and then released onto the Australian market in June 2019. Already 2,300 tradies have signed up to trial the app.
Now available in NZ
They have now launched in New Zealand and are excited to offer Kiwi tradies the opportunity to fight back against tool theft.
“Police often come across rooms full of power tools but are unable to reunite these with their owners as they don’t often keep the serial numbers or an up-to-date list of their tools,” said Neville.
“I just thought, tradies love their phones, they just need an app to make it easier to store details of their tools and report theft!”
“I wanted to catch these thieves who are ripping people off like my son, who also happens to be a tradie.”
Get back to work faster
Tool theft is a growing problem in New Zealand, with equipment often stolen from the back of utes, cars and even construction sites. The theft of power tools is also a common currency for drugs. The impact of such a crime isn’t limited to cost of replacement, it can also mean jobs need to be cancelled until new equipment is purchased, impacting livelihoods. Claiming on insurance can be a lengthy process and unless proper records are kept the full repayment value may not be paid.
Tool Protect allows information to be stored in one convenient place with information ready to be quickly sent to police, insurers and even tool shops where they can be repurchased. Tradies take a photo of each tool which is recorded with its serial number and any other identifiable marks.
Making it harder for the criminals
“It will make stealing tools harder because the serial numbers of stolen tools will be available to police,” Neville said. “It will shut down stolen tools sold through second-hand stores. I really want to make it harder for these grubs to steal equipment from honest and hardworking tradies – we want to be able to fight back.”