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Summer 2006

Eyes on the Skies Help Track Down Stolen Loader

As manager of Concrete Clinic, his family's contractor supply and rental business, John Bencsik, Jr., has purchased a lot of equipment over the years. One of his smartest buying decisions last year was equipping eight of his newer Bobcat® compact track loaders and compact excavators with the GlobalTRACS GPS system for monitoring equipment location and operation.

It saved him the cost of replacing a nearly-new, top-of-the line Bobcat T300 compact track loader and two Bobcat attachments by enabling law enforcement authorities to find the equipment several hundred miles from the jobsite where it had been stolen. In the process, the police busted a major theft ring, uncovering a large stash of other stolen construction equipment.

"Equipment theft is a big problem in our area," says Bencsik. "We saw this system as insurance that was well worth the money. Its cost is minimal compared to its value."

Based in Lemont, Ill., a suburb of Chicago, Concrete Clinic includes two other stores, one in New Lenox and another in Morris. The company's equipment inventory includes 25 Bobcat skid-steer and compact track loaders and excavators and several Bobcat attachments.

Bencsik purchased the GlobalTRACS system at the suggestion of his dealer, Atlas Bobcat, Schiller Park, Ill. "They've always been very good about taking care of us and keeping us informed about the latest equipment developments," Bencsik says. "And, I trust them."

Roger Bencsik. Jr.

Roger Bencsik. Jr.

He had tried a different type of security system several years ago. "It was a bulky unit that was difficult to hide," he recalls. "Also, if the machine sat for a long time without running, the system would drain the battery dead. I got frustrated and stopped using it."

To thwart thieves attempting to disarm the system, the GlobalTRACS hardware is well concealed. "Even though I knew the transmitter and antenna had been installed, I couldn't find them until my dealer showed me exactly where they were," Bencsik says.

Finding the stolen goods

The GlobalTRACS system, which Bobcat introduced last year, combines satellite vehicle tracking capability with wireless communications and computer data management. The dealer-installed hardware features rugged construction for reliable operation. Qualcomm, Inc., a world-wide leader in wireless communications, monitors the data network 24 hours a day.

This system allows Bencsik to pinpoint the location of his Bobcat equipment. He can also set up an electronic fence around the area where the machine is operating. Should it leave this area, the global positioning satellites trigger the system to alert you automatically as they continue tracking the machine's location.

However, in the case of the stolen T300, the contractor who rented the machine was using it at two different jobsites. As a result, Bencsik didn't set up an electronic fence to enclose both areas. So, when the thieves made off with the machine, he had no reason to search for it. "I won't do that again," he vows.

At the same time, the construction superintendent who noticed the machine missing assumed the superintendent at the other site had taken it. Several days passed before they realized the machine was stolen and reported it to Bencsik. That's when he started the electronic search. By the time the Michigan State Police found the machine in the southwestern part of the state the thieves had already left their mark on it.

"They had broken the glass door of the cab, apparently to get inside, and damaged the top of the cab and knocked out a side window, most likely while transporting it inside a trailer with other equipment," he says. "They also ground off every serial number they could find and torched off all the decals of our company name. Repairing the damage and repainting the machine cost close to $10,000. But that was still a lot less expensive than buying a new one."

More benefits

But helping him recover his T300 isn't the only reason Bencsik likes the GlobalTRACS system. He can also use it to keep an eye on the operating status and engine hours of his machines. This makes it easy to schedule regular service when equipment is out for extended rental periods.

"Some of our customers may rent our Bobcat equipment for six or seven months at a time," he says. "By keeping track of engine hours, this system tells us when an oil change and other regular service is needed. It also saves time for our service technician because he knows exactly where to find the machine."

This feature is also handy when customers rent the machines for snow removal work. "In the past, I'd have to wait until the end of the season to determine the total hours they used the machine," he says. "Now I can bill them every month if they exceed the monthly time they've paid for."

Currently, Bencsik has equipped 13 of his Bobcat loaders and excavators with GlobalTRACS. "I'm very happy with the way this system works," he says. "We never would have gotten our stolen T300 back without it. This system is batting a thousand percent for me."

The GlobalTRACS system works with all Bobcat skid-steer, all-wheel steer and compact track loaders, loader backhoes, compact excavators, Toolcat™ utility work machines, utility vehicles and more. Visit your local Bobcat dealer to learn all the details, or go online to read more: