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What to do when equipment has been stolen

By Sean Reibeling

September 5, 2023

While the hope is always to avoid equipment theft, being prepared for such situations is crucial for an equipment rental business. Acting promptly when theft occurs can significantly increase the chances of recovering your valuable assets in a condition to get them back in the field quickly. Here are steps you can take to handle stolen equipment and get back on track as quickly as possible.

Incorporate a rapid response plan. This plan should outline the immediate actions to be taken when theft is discovered. Assign specific roles and responsibilities to key team members to ensure a swift and coordinated response. By having a clear plan in place, you minimize confusion and maximize efficiency during a critical situation.

Identify the signs of theft. Train your employees to recognize unusual behaviors or patterns that might indicate theft. Establish protocols for reporting any suspicious activities to the designated personnel. By fostering an environment where such observations are taken seriously, you create an early warning system that can help prevent further loss.

Prevent stolen equipment transport. Consider investing in technology that can immobilize or remotely disable your equipment. By rendering the stolen machinery inoperable, you can deter thieves from attempting to move or use it. This gives you more time to initiate recovery efforts before the equipment is lost for good.

Report essential information for recovery. When theft occurs, reporting accurate and comprehensive information to the authorities and your insurance provider is crucial. This information aids in tracking down the stolen equipment and expediting the recovery process. Make sure to provide details such as the make, model, and serial number of the stolen equipment. Clearly state its last known location and where it should have been. In addition, provide information about the last person or entity that rented the equipment. The more detailed your report, the higher the chances of a successful recovery.

Take swift action for recovery. Time is indeed of the essence when dealing with stolen equipment. The faster you act, the more likely you are to recover the equipment and minimize financial losses. As soon as theft is confirmed, initiate your rapid response plan, involving law enforcement and your insurance company. By promptly sharing essential information and working together, you increase the likelihood of getting your equipment back.

While theft is an unfortunate reality, being prepared to tackle it head-on is a sign of a well-managed equipment rental business. By establishing a rapid response plan, training your team to identify theft, preventing equipment movement and providing comprehensive information to the authorities, you position yourself for a quicker recovery. Remember, acting swiftly not only increases the chances of getting your equipment back but also demonstrates your commitment to maintaining a secure and thriving operation.

Sean Reibeling is the director of marketing for Frenter, an asset management solution for equipment rental businesses. For more information, visit