Dealership owner Paul Pinchback faces a problem not uncommon to RV dealers.
After burglars made off with 11 television sets in break-ins on Friday (March 27) and Tuesday (March 31) from higher-end units on the RV Connection lot, damaging several RVs in the process, the Lawton, Okla.-based dealer thinks business owners can learn lessons in security from the incident.
Thieves cut through a fence on the backside of the lot and forced their way into several units, prying open doors and even crawling in through a roof vent in one instance to gain access to the RVs.
“We’ve never had anything like this happen,” Pinchback said. “I’ve been in the business 27 years now, and I’ve never had this problem. Of course, we’ve been growing, so I guess that makes us more of a target.”
Over the past two years, Pinchback’s dealership, which he operates with his son Coulston, has expanded in size, leading to more units spread out over a larger space, farther from road, lighting and security cameras he has near the main office.
“We’ll be installing even more LED lights in that area, but with all the units back there, there’s more places to hide,” he said.
Although Pinchback has security cameras, he notes that they don’t do much to thwart criminals. Further, it is difficult to get quality images from all areas of the lot, so he’ll be installing a laser security system along the border of his dealership.
“What I’ve found on surveillance cameras is that it’s got to get a really good picture of them,” he said.
Pinchback had records of serial numbers of the TVs to give to police and local pawnshop owners, making it more difficult for thieves to sell the stolen contraband.
“The serial numbers are really important. That was the first thing (the police) asked us, ‘Do you have the serial numbers?’ So they can distribute those to the pawn shops,” Pinchback said, adding that units are not always shipped with serial numbers on the manufacturers’ data sheets.
“You’ll find that they’ll have a sheet with most of the serial numbers, but we have run into some that didn’t have serial numbers on the TV. It may be because they changed something on production down the line or forgot to write them in, so most dealers really need to be careful about that and make sure,” Pinchback said.
In the meantime, Pinchback said the damage to the units and the cost of the stolen TVs may be covered by his lot insurance, but he figures he is looking at around $11,000 out-of-pocket cost for the TVs and damaged units.
“We have lot coverage, but on these units here, that lot coverage has about a $1,000 deductible per unit, so it’s going to cost you.”