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Rival Vendor Stole 2 of my machines, GPS to catch him?


RikaKazak
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During covid one of my local competitors never serviced his machines.  I'd guess it had been 18+ months since he had.  We share numerous accounts, and I continued servicing like normal this whole time.  Well, I was able to get an account from "shared" to "exclusive."  (turns out when you don't pay for 18 months, and the other guy pays on time like always, some managers like that more lol)  The manager took his empty/product stale machines and put them in the back room.  I put more machines in, and filled the lobby.

Last service cycle 2 of my machines were stolen.  It's 100% possible it was a customer or druggie etc.  But I'm guessing it was him (another account we share he serviced for the first time in 18 months, which was the same week my machines were stolen).

I think he's just pissed that I got an A- account exclusive, and I'm going to replace the two machines that were stolen since it's such a good account.  But I was thinking of adding GPS to them to catch him in case this continues.  Anyone ever done that before?  If so, which gps did you use?

Thanks in advance.

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21 hours ago, RikaKazak said:

During covid one of my local competitors never serviced his machines.  I'd guess it had been 18+ months since he had.  We share numerous accounts, and I continued servicing like normal this whole time.  Well, I was able to get an account from "shared" to "exclusive."  (turns out when you don't pay for 18 months, and the other guy pays on time like always, some managers like that more lol)  The manager took his empty/product stale machines and put them in the back room.  I put more machines in, and filled the lobby.

Last service cycle 2 of my machines were stolen.  It's 100% possible it was a customer or druggie etc.  But I'm guessing it was him (another account we share he serviced for the first time in 18 months, which was the same week my machines were stolen).

I think he's just pissed that I got an A- account exclusive, and I'm going to replace the two machines that were stolen since it's such a good account.  But I was thinking of adding GPS to them to catch him in case this continues.  Anyone ever done that before?  If so, which gps did you use?

Thanks in advance.

      I will assume you already asked the location if the guy picked up his equipment that week (or if they noticed anyone taking your equipment). If they have no pertinent info then I would call the other operator and ask him directly if he removed the machines. Tell him that you are filing a police report (even if you aren't) and just wanted to make sure he or one of his employees didn't accidentally take the machine before you get the authorities involved. He may get indignant with you, he may say "yeah my guy accidentally grabbed the wrong machines and I meant to call you" (unlikely to happen) or he may just say he had nothing to do with it. Regardless of his response, he will know that you have him on your radar and unless he is a total psycho, he will in all likelihood leave your equipment alone going forward (assuming he had anything to do with it's theft in the first place). I had a similar situation occur several years back when a location kicked out all bulk vending after a remodel. The location looked at another operator's machine first and only called him to ask for pick up. I came into service my machine about a month after it was swiped, saw it was gone and the location said it had already been picked up. I told the manager at the location that we are all different vendors and my contact info was on the front and back of the machine and she said "Well I didn't know.". Apparently the other operator came in to pull the machine and took his equipment along with another vendor's and mine (an Oak double). I was pissed to say the least. The location even gave me his number so I called the dude like 50 times but he never answered. I left messages (varying degrees of veiled threats because I didn't want have the cops show up on my doorstep) and I even went to the guy's house, knocked on the door (no answer) and left a note for him to call me. Never heard a peep from him. Ultimately after two weeks of fooling with this in my spare time I made the decision to cut bait and move on. Sure I could have called the cops but I have been down that road and it is not a priority for them. Furthermore, many police departments will advise you that they consider it a civil matter (been down this road in the past too). Honestly I'm just too busy to waste my time on going to small claims court over a $100.00 vending machine knowing that I may not win or may get a default judgement which is often fruitless.

     I do know this....the guy has never touched one of my machines again.

     Unfortunately theft of equipment in bulk vending happens occasionally. Anymore, when it happens to me, I will initially run down whatever leads are available, if any, then I replace the machine making sure it is in a safer spot or secured. I just accept that losing an occasional machine is the cost of doing business in bulk vending. In your case I would definitely secure the equipment in that location because if it was just a random criminal from the area he may come back again. As for the GPS tracking device....it seems like a lot of time and hassle for a moral victory. Remember........Karma never loses an address and it will eventually visit the person who stole your equipment. Good luck with the situation. 

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