Thieves will find stealing work tools a little harder thanks to a Queensland mother of four who has created an app to foil their plans.
Gayle Neville from Brisbane came up with the novel idea to create a virtual tool box where tradies could register all of their equipment, including serial numbers, in one safe location. In the event of items being stolen, the records stored on the app called Tool Protect could be accessed quickly and tools later identified if recovered.
The idea was hatched after listening to her husband Dan, a police officer, talk about his frustration at how little could be done to recover stolen tools. With the help of her four adult sons – and their wives - Neville released Tool Protect onto the Australian market in June this year. Already 2,300 tradies have signed up to trial the app.
“Police often come across rooms full of power tools but are unable to reunite these with their owners as they don’t often keep the serial numbers or an up-to-date list of their tools,” said Mrs Neville, who is a registered nurse.
“I just thought, tradies love their phones, they just need an app to make it easier to store details of their tools and report theft!”
“I wanted to catch these thieves who are ripping people off like my son, who also happens to be a tradie.”
Tool theft is a growing problem in Australia, with equipment often stolen from the back of utes, cars and even construction sites. The theft of power tools are also a common currency for drugs. The impact of such a crime isn’t limited to cost of replacement, it can also mean jobs need to be cancelled until new equipment is purchased impacting livelihoods. Claiming on insurance can be a lengthy process and unless proper records are kept the full repayment value may not be paid.
Tool Protect allows information to be stored in one convenient place with information ready to be sent to police, insurers and even tool shops where they can be reordered. Tradies take a photo of each tool which is recorded with its serial number and any other identifiable marks.
“It will make stealing tools harder because the serial numbers of stolen tools will be available to police,” Neville said.
“It will shut down stolen tools sold through second hand stores. I really want to make it harder for these grubs to steal equipment from honest and hardworking tradies – we want to be able to fight back.”
Tool Protect is available to download for a free 12 month trial. After the trial, users can sign up for a $28 per year fee. It is available through the App stores of both Apple and Android devices. It has been uniquely designed for convenient use on phones and tablets. It also allows the user to call the police from a button within the app.