stolentractor_20100324160709_320_240After having his business equipment stolen numerous times before (worth around $50,000), Scott Williams, a Tampa businessman, decided to take the matter of protecting his property into his own hands. He installed GPS trackers in his business truck and all of his landscaping equipment, so that he would be able to track its exact location in case it was stolen again.

And when it did get stolen yesterday morning, he logged on a friend’s computer and was able to see exactly where the truck and stolen equipment was heading. He then called up the police and gave them the exact location of the truck.

“When the vehicle was taken, he got with a friend who could track it on his home computer and was able to give our officer a play-by-play, street-by-street location of that vehicle as it was fleeing the area,” said Lt. Bruce Leidholdt.

Thanks to the GPS trackers, within a few hours, all of Scott’s equipment and truck was returned to him and he was able to get back to work.

Now most people wouldn’t normally expect lawnmowers and landscaping equipment to be tracked by GPS, but when you really think about it, all of this equipment is really expensive.

“A mower is $15,000. A weed eater is $400. Back pack blower is, like, $600. This stuff gets expensive,” Williamson said.

As of right now, the police haven’t found the thief, but they have found what seems to be his car and a gun inside it. And as for Scott Williams, he is just happy that the thieves didn’t put him out of business.

(Via MyFoxTampaBay)

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fire-videoAfter finding scorched carpet hidden under a strategically placed filing cabinet, BrickHouse Security employees turn to their own surveillance system to figure out exactly what happened. What they found was a cover up scandal engineered by the managers of their cleaning company, MD Building Services.

“All it takes is one spark to start a fire that can engulf a whole room in less than 15 minutes,” said Joe Hardiman, a BrickHouse Security employee and 20-year veteran of the Rockland County volunteer fire department. A statistic that Hardiman and the other 11,500 New York City firefighters see all too often. Little did Hardiman know that he would be citing this very statistic when explaining the potential disaster that he and his fellow coworkers faced at BrickHouse Security after a cleaning crew sparked an avoidable fire in their office.

The source of the fire was a vacuum cleaner whose frayed cord was taped together with non-electrical tape. All it took was one spark to ignite the cord and the newly installed carpet. What’s even worse? The cleaning company, MD Building Services, tried to cover up the scorched (and potentially smoldering) rug with a nearby filing cabinet to avoid blame. The office is located in a high rise building that houses commercial offices as well as over a thousand residents.

“The fact that the cleaning crew used a nearby filing cabinet to cover up the scorched rug to avoid blame is not only irresponsible, it’s down right foolhardy,” stated firefighter Hardiman. “When you install a rug, you use cement that contains volatile organic compounds, which can hugely increase the fire’s potential for survival and eventual re-ignition. By covering the fire’s source, the cleaning crew compounded the danger to the office and the residents of the apartment building by a hundred fold.”

The severity of the situation was revealed 13 days later when the filing cabinet was moved and the scorched rug was revealed. The security company referred to its surveillance tape and found all the evidence they needed to approach MD Building Services with the problem. “The tape shows the fire, the supervisor Luciano visiting the office to assess the damage, Luciano on the phone for over two minutes obviously speaking with his manager who in this case is Michael Redrup. The next part of the tape jumps to the filing cabinet miraculously moving 2 feet to cover the spot where the fire took place,” said Todd Morris, CEO of BrickHouse Security. “I knew I had to confront them about the potential danger they inflicted upon my office and the many residents of this building.”

When Morris called in MD Building Services Manager Michael Redrup and the cleaning crew’s direct supervisor Luciano, he began by asking them if they knew where the burn mark on the rug came from. Both Luciano and Redrup spent over three minutes crawling on hands and knees explaining that they had “no idea what it could be” and after inspecting the burn spot and concurring that it was probably from a “cigar or cigarette.”

“I asked them what would happen if something like that happened on a cleaning shift, and who would the cleaning crew potentially notify. They explained that the cleaners are instructed to call their direct supervisor (Luciano) who in turn is supposed to call his manager, in this case Michael Redrup,” explained Morris. “When I asked them if the cleaning crew had indeed called them in this case to alert them of the problem, both employees of MD Building Services insisted that they had not been notified.” Then Morris showed the two MD Building Services employees the video tape, clearly placing Luciano at the scene on the phone with whom is probably his manager, Michael Redrup.

“At first, Luciano tried to tell me that he was on the phone with another client, not indeed his manager. When I told him that we’re a security company and even have devices that can forensically determine who he was talking to, his tune changed.” Both men replied “it was bad judgment.” When the owner of MD Building Services, Michael Carlin was asked about the incident, he also responded that it was “bad judgment.” Carlin was unavailable for further comment.

No, this is not just a case of bad judgment. This is a case of reckless endangerment and it could have meant a fire severe enough to engulf the entire office as well as the adjoining office buildings. The combination of poor judgment, the use of shoddy equipment, and the blatant cover up attempt puts MD Building Services in a very poor light that should make any office owner wary of hiring this company.

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ctrus-football_02_s3fbo_22976_aovqv_54Agent has developed a concept football called CTRUS. This transparent football uses GPS tracking technology combined with an RFID chip to make it easier to identify close calls over the goal line or the side line. A high-tech football (or soccer ball for U.S. folks) like this one could have easily avoided the controversy surrounding Thierry Henry’s handball goal against Ireland.

The reality is that the technology for such a football is already available, so this isn’t that much of a futuristic concept at all. Not to mention, that this isn’t the first instance where we’ve seen GPS tracking being used to make a sport more efficient. Just last month gps trackers were used at Super Bowl 44. At this rate, we’re confident that within the next few years we’ll be seeing GPS tracking implemented in many creative and strategic ways for many different kinds of sports.

(Via GizmoWatch)

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mm_twitterThis past weekend Twitter users were subjected to a Chinese phishing scheme that stole many users Twitter login credentials. Apparently, the hackers used GroupTweet, so humorous links began appearing in individual tweets as well as many public feeds. The widespread reach of this virus has caused concerns for Twitter users.

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youtubeAfter having 3 cars stolen from his car dealership and the police not coming up with any leads, despite the use of a surveillance tape, Adnan Sheikh (the owner) decided to use the power of the Internet and the social networking giant, YouTube, to help bring the thieves to justice. To make sure that anyone with any relevant information comes forward, Mr. Sheikh is also offering a $500 dollar reward.

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At Bryan Highschool in Texas, truancy has become such an epidemic that a Judge has decided to forced 22 Truants to wear GPS devices. His decision supports the AIM (Attendance Improvement Management) initiative which is also launching a similar program in Port Aurther, Texas.

Aside from requiring students to to wear the GPS devices which can be monitored online, the program also provides coaching, where several times a week students have phone conversations with counselors about school and setting positive goals. So far AIM has proven very successful with a 97% attendance rate for students who participated in Spring of 2009.

“It provides sustainable results,” says Judge Gillam. “It empowers them to stay in school.

(Via KXAN News and Chip Chicklets)

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telemundologoThis week, the Telemundo television network stopped by our headquarters to film a segment about keeping your kids safe by using location devices such as GPS trackers and RFID based devices like the BrickHouse Child Locator. The spot aired this morning, check out the video for the full segment.

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