Thursday, February 18, 2016

Etching program looks to help rural property owners in Calif., Nevada recover stolen equipment

Rural communities in California and parts of Nevada are fighting back against thieves stealing millions of dollars in farm equipment through a program called Owner Applied Number, Julie Johnson reports for The Press Democrat in Santa Rosa, Calif. As part of the program equipment is etched with unique numerical-and-letter sequences that are entered into a database used by law enforcement to recover stolen equipment. It's an alternative to relying on serial numbers, which have sometimes disappeared or are too old to be on record. (P-D photo by Kent Porter: Engraving a numeric code on a tool)

In Sonoma County, California, more than $3 million in farm equipment was reported stolen in the past four years, Johnson writes. "The numbers illustrate the financial toll on the county’s rural residents when thieves haul away tons of valuable equipment and even live animals, veteran Community Service Officer Pat Moffitt said. Moffitt ticked off examples from her records from 2015: Copper wire valued at $120,000 taken from a north county vineyard; saddles worth about $47,000 missing from an equestrian center; a $35,000 tractor that was later recovered; and even 10 live goats worth about $5,000 that were hauled away." (Read more)

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