On the morning of July 6, the Cat Rental Store (CRS) received a call from a customer whose rental backhoe was missing from their jobsite on Boggy Creek Road, just a couple of miles from the Orlando branch. An attempt was made to locate the machine via VisionLink™, but it had been turned off and could not be pinged.
In Tampa, CRS Asst. Service Manager Matt Burroughs and Equipment Manager Admin. Shanna Brown immediately swung into action and set up an alert in VisionLink to be notified as soon the machine was powered on. On Tuesday, July 7, they received their first alert in the morning, followed by another that same afternoon, and another the next morning. Unfortunately, the machine was powered down within minutes each time and could not be pinged.
Shortly after 9 p.m. July 8, Chris Marker (CRS Lakeland Branch Shop Foreman) and Shanna received another alert. This time they were able to ping the machine and track it while it moved to a different location. While pinging the machine for location updates, Chris kept in touch with the customer and contacted the Orange County Sheriff’s Department, who informed him they would be unable to assist until the machine stopped.
Watching the machine move south down Boggy Creek Road, Chris decided to follow it to its destination, where he would be better able to get local law enforcement involved in its recovery. While making the 80-minute drive from his house, VisionLink provided constant location updates. As the machine and Chris made their way toward St. Cloud, Chris tried calling the St. Cloud police department for assistance. After giving them a full description of the machine, he stayed on the phone with the dispatcher while she notified units in the area.
Shortly after 11 p.m., Chris received a call from a St. Cloud police officer informing him that he had located the machine. Because he was close by, Chris was able to arrive within minutes and visually confirm the identity of the missing backhoe. The operator of the stolen machine claimed that a friend had loaned it to him for use on his property. It was not on a transport truck, and had been driven 22 miles from the jobsite. According to the operator, he planned to drive it another 25 miles to his property. He was arrested and the machine was returned to the Orlando branch that same night.
Kudos to Chris Marker for going safely beyond the call of duty to locate the stolen machine, and to Shanna Brown and the rest of the CRS team for taking swift action to ensure its successful return to the rental fleet—undamaged and currently back on the job!