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Question is self explanatory. We had a zero-turn stolen last year. We plan on buying another one this year, and I want to protect it. I've never looked into options available, but I'd like to tag my gear so that it can be tracked if stolen.

Besides obvious solutions involving keeping the gear out of sight and using chains + padlocks, what other ways are there to protect and recover equipment?

Edit 2: Options so far:

  1. I've been looking at Internet Connected GPS Trackers on Amazon and have found some internet-connected-gsm units like this and this.
    • Can get pre-paid cards and pay ~$25 every 3 months
    • Can add another line to our family plan for ~$10 a month.
    • Might be able to add an AT&T SIM card and leave plan inactivated until needed, leaving no monthly bill until "needed".
    • Will have to get it "installed" on the item in a nondescript way that gets a signal and juice from battery.
  2. Internet Camera's with motion recording. Another techy solution, with the aim of catching the perp and license plates.

  3. Disable vehicles at the engine - make it harder to move the items and more expensive if they do get stolen.

  4. Fast Disconnect tires. Same general idea as #2, make it harder to remove lawn mower. missing parts.
  5. locks and chains - main issue with this is that where our stuff is stored is semi-secluded and all that's needed is a good pair of bolt-cutters, time, someone remotely aware of our schedules and where stuff is located.
  6. dangle them from high above - no high-rises nearby, not many tree's, not sure we want a $3k lawn mower hanging through the winter although it would be entertaining to say the least.

Edit 1: Looking around, I've found plenty of GPS devices for tracking teenagers, children, cars, fleet and similar - but for home use ~$30 a month for protection of a single device seems much. One example found is this EON GPS Asset Tracker, which doesn't seem bad but its a bit expensive due to the monthly bill.

There has to be a good option that you can install into a lawnmower, let it leech off of available wifi-hotspots with the possibly of remotely activating more tracking if need-be without a month subscription fee. Item disappears and it's not phoning home via wifi? Enable cell phone tracking for a one time fee.

Right site or not? As I said in comments, I think this is the best site possible for this question... if it's not, which exchange should I ask this on?

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I'm not sure this is a good fit for this site. –  Tester101 Apr 6 '13 at 1:43
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The question is then, what other site is a good fit? I'd be happy to move the question if another site suites better. –  WernerCD Apr 6 '13 at 15:36
    
There are still questions that StackExchange can't answer. To think a question fits here simply because it doesn't fit anywhere else, is odd logic indeed. –  Tester101 Apr 8 '13 at 12:42
    
@Tester101 I would think that protecting my home equipment would fall into Home Improvement, although I know it's not going to be the run of the mill question. I'll admit that this does feel like a gray area. It definitely feels more "correct" here... than in say Gardening & Landscaping SE. –  WernerCD Apr 8 '13 at 13:17
    
I would think in a residential setting the answer would be to park the equipment in a secure area (shed, garage, etc.). But again. Trying to shoehorn a question into a site, simply because a better site doesn't exist, just seems like a strange thing to do. –  Tester101 Apr 8 '13 at 13:23

3 Answers 3

Contractors at construction sites often place their valuable gear out of reach of potential theives.

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Now expecting that this approach may not be practical in your particular case the next best advice is "out of sight is less tempting". Wheel your gear into a shed or garage and lock it up.

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Or disable it. Taking a spark plug or other vital part with you is a great theft deterrent for larger, not easily lifted equipment. I always remove the distributor rotor from my tractor when I leave it. –  Tester101 Apr 6 '13 at 2:07
    
lol I laud the idea, but don't think it's practical for home use. I'd rather not have to build a high-rise to keep my mower from dissapearing. –  WernerCD Apr 6 '13 at 15:36
    
@Tester101 Sounds simple enough as a deterrent and not something I'd have thought of personally. I'll have to look into options like that. –  WernerCD Apr 6 '13 at 15:57

Keep it in a garage/shed, and keep an alarm on the building itself. If someone breaks in, it's at least a first line of defense. Be sure the alarm is not easy to disable (eg, having another siren/flashing light on another building would be much more intimidating and harder to disable than just an alarm in the building). Flashing lights and a siren loud enough to get the attention of neighbours also help, just make sure you don't have false alarms that teach them to ignore it.

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You want to make it difficult for a potential thief to steal something or at least deter them from doing it.

Some ideas:

  • Motion sensor lights/w camera around building housing machine
  • A dog, preferrable big and loud
  • Secure the machine to something big and heavy
  • Hire a landscaping service

Your never going to stop thievery, but if you make it difficult to steal it, the thieves should move on to something easier.

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