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Electrician turned investigator: we interviewed the sparky who tracked down his stolen tools

tools

Electrician turned investigator: we interviewed the sparky who tracked down his stolen tools

He used his Milwaukee OneKey app to locate his stolen gear.

We all hope it never happens to us, but with tool theft rife up and down the country it’s just a matter of time for some people. Apprentice electrician Darryl Pyart was one of the unlucky ones when his Berlingo was broken into and roughly £3,000 worth of tools were stolen in broad daylight as he nipped into Sainsbury’s on Thursday 18th July.

Darryl reported the break-in to police, but they didn’t turn up to view the CCTV footage of the theft. Even the next day they still did nothing to help. “When I argued on the phone the next day about why they weren’t doing anything, I was told that it probably wouldn’t even get investigated” he said.

But luckily for Darryl, some of his tools had Milwaukee’s OneKey technology. OneKey is a system embedded in selected new tools, and also available as an add-on tag, which can track your gear via Bluetooth. You can keep track of inventory, adjust drill speed/power, as well as disable the tools remotely. And, of course, the system lets you track their location.

Bluetooth limitations mean that OneKey tools can only be picked up by your phone if they’re within range – about 100ft. Admittedly not too useful if they’re in the back of a thief’s van half way down the M5. But, the stolen tools will connect to other phones which are using the Milwaukee app, even if it’s only running in the background. This then sends your phone a notification with an updated location of your stolen kit – result!

This is exactly what happened to Darryl – two days after his gear was nicked he got a notification saying his combi drill had turned up in Ilford. He immediately jumped in his van and drove down to investigate.

When he arrived, Darryl bumped into another tradesman who was tracking his own Milwaukee drill. The lads rang the police and started trying to find their drills. After 10 more phone calls, and five hours of waiting, the police finally showed up. According to Daryl they weren’t much use and refused to help search a house where the lads thought their tools were located, so they carried on door-to-door alone.

After eliminating most houses, they were nearly ready to give up when a guy approached them asking if they were the people looking for drills. He then led them to his car where they found both the two stolen drills, along with a few other bits of Darryl’s gear which the man had apparently bought from Tottenham Market. He even admitted knowing full well they’d been nicked.

Darryl praised the Milwaukee OneKey system as “a good start”, but admitted “it’s not perfect as you need to have other people with their Bluetooth and the app on in order for it to be tracked so I got lucky.” He suggested pushing for tool companies to make a deal to have one tracking system that can pick up tools from any manufacturer instead of different brands having different systems, like Milwaukee’s OneKey and DeWalt’s Tool Connect.

Darryl also advises everyone to get these tool tracking apps on their phones to maximise the chances of stolen tools being recovered. “Don’t rely on the police, help each other out. At the end of the day it’s tradesmen against thieves and the police are just spectators.”

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Paul Randall
Paul Randall
2024-03-14
First Class! Dave and the team are fantastic. The fit on our first Mobile Bike Service and Repair Van could not be any better. From the very beginning, through the design process, all the way to completion I cannot fault a single thing. As I write this, our second van is being fitted to exactly the same specification and the third van is on the way. Long may this partnership continue!
Tim Lees
Tim Lees
2024-02-20
Very helpful and patient with an older guy who was a bit nervous ordering from a company I didn't know. The product I wanted wasn't on their website but I thought it worth asking and they had it at a good price. It came the next day and worked perfectly.
Richard Shepherd
Richard Shepherd
2024-01-17
I highly recommend Lee, Dave and the Team at Vehicle Accessories after they did a fantastic job for a one off bespoke van fit for my business. I approached them with a rather radical high concept idea, Dave did a great job taking notes from my extensive brief. He made a great effort to listen and take notes along the way making sure he understood and made suggestions for materials which really led to a much better end product. A particular highlight was a suggestion for them to fabricate a wall mounted Steal Mesh cage system for my equipment which far exceeded my expectations of quality and engineering. During the planning stage and construction suggestions were made to change materials and systems for what they thought would work better for the project as it developed. The end product was perfect and done to a very high standard, it really turned out better than I ever hoped for. Communication throughout was excellent with regular updates, fast responses and easy dialogue when confirming details or discussing changes. Changes were managed quickly and efficiently throughout the build with a great deal of flexibility and professionalism. Even though I was just having just one bespoke build being done for myself I felt highly valued as a customer and treated with the same level of respect and attentiveness as someone ordering a fleet. The quality of work and customer service will certainly mean I’ll be coming back for my next van project.
Philip Taylor Ashby
Philip Taylor Ashby
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Lee and his helpful staff sorted my lock problem that made it easy to break in or steal and at there Christmas closing time🙏, friendly helpful and reasonable thank you all.
Mark Elliott
Mark Elliott
2023-05-23
Great choice of equipment to fit and all done efficiently. They have designed and fitted racking to 75 vehicle for us in the last year.
Ross Thomson
Ross Thomson
2023-05-20
I can’t recommend Lee and his team of wizards enough. They fitted the gas with all the safety requirements and modified / adapted several parts of the electrics. They went above and beyond my expectations - I won’t hesitate to use them again.
Andrew Young
Andrew Young
2023-04-13
What can say.... the order process was simple, prices competitive and when it was realised that I had ordered 2 incompatible parts I got a call to check and recify the order. Collection was easy and the install team did a quick, neat job. Job done....until next time thank you
Annie Meadows
Annie Meadows
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Dave, Lee and the team at VA moved crates from my old van to a new one. Easy to communicate with, quick turn around, met all my requests, made good suggestions (such as putting in a waterproof floor) and did an excellent job. Highly recommend.
miles leech
miles leech
2022-12-22
Big thanks to Dave and the rest of the Vehicle Accessories team. They've done a great job fitting security locks and a floor in my new van. They also moved over my racking and interior lights from my previous van while going out of there way to make it all fit. Excellent service, very efficient and professional. Highly recommended and nice people to deal with. Thanks Miles Ashton Gas


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