Stolen vehicles: there’s a new business in spare parts

We often talk about car theft, a problem that unfortunately has always affected our country and which seems to have no end, but perhaps we had never faced another issue that characterizes Italy, a phenomenon in large expansion at the moment: thefts of construction machinery, which have increased exponentially since the beginning of the year.

It is the charterers of these vehicles who raise the alarm, in fact complaining of serious economic losses – we consider that each vehicle has a value, when new, of between 80,000 and 300,000 euros – and operational difficulties on their customers’ construction sites. Also because of chip and component crisis, which we have talked about so much over the course of the year, stolen vehicles are mostly disassembled and the individual parts are then resold on illegal markets. A trend pushes operators in the sector to equip their fleet with telematic solutions that are effective in protecting these assets.

The analysis of the theft of earthmoving machinery

LoJack Italia, a company of the CalAmp Group (Nasdaq: CAMP) leader in telematics solutions for the Automotive and in the recovery of stolen vehicles, has created an analysis on this type of theft, on the basis of data and indications collected by the RentalBlog Observatory – which periodically surveys a sample of 150 construction site equipment hirers on issues of close interest to the market.

What emerges from the research is that every theft of an earthmoving machine causes a damage equal to the value of the vehicle, which can vary – as we said previously – from 80,000 to 300,000 euros, and jeopardize the operations of the construction site in which it is used. This is a phenomenon which at the moment is assuming very important dimensions if one considers that in Italy there are more than 5,000 heavy vehicle rental companies and that the annual turnover is around 2.5 billion euros (Source Assodimi, year 2021).

Strong increase in thefts

According to the sample of operators interviewed, since the beginning of 2022 the phenomenon of theft of construction equipment has undergone a significant increase. In addition to the growth of the episodes, the approach of the criminals who bet on this business also seems to have changed. Until a few years ago, in fact, these vehicles were taken abroad to be resold, but now the larger ones are used directly on the national territory in the spare parts market, equally profitable.

As is also the case with cars, and we know it well, once stolen, the means are dismembered and feed an illegal market, parallel to the official one. There are many dismantling centers that testify to the phenomenon, discovered in the numerous operations carried out on the national territory by the forces of order, where the vehicles were found before being dismantled.

Not only is the theft of vehicles on the increase, but also of some parts of them: there are construction site machines coming looted of buckets, loading shovels, hooks connected to telehandlers, even while stationary at the rental facilities. In the face of this ever-increasing phenomenon, rental companies’ attention to protection tools is obviously growing. The RentalBlog Observatory highlights how the demand for solutions that integrate and enrich satellite systems is increasing.

Massimo Braga, Vice President and General Manager of LoJack Italia, declares: “Our solutions dedicated to fight against the scourge of thefts they guarantee greater safety and protection thanks to devices installed on the machines equipped with non-shieldable radio-frequency technology, capable of detecting vehicles in places where other systems are less effective. There is a control center that is always operational, at the service of the customer at any time of the day, but also a LoJack security team that supports the Police Forces in the field in locating, recovering and returning the vehicle to the owner. To further strengthen the protection we think then the integration with our telematic solutions which allow to make the intervention even more effective and rapid. A speed that often allows the search to be concluded successfully before the vehicle is dismantled and all traces of it are definitively lost”.

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Stolen vehicles: there’s a new business in spare parts


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