COMING INTO FOCUS: Incident at Detroit Area Plant Highlights Theft Risk and the Need for Adequate Alarm Systems
A botched Detroit-area heist ends with massive fire and valuable lessons for one of the largest pallet companies in Michigan.
Date Posted: 2/1/2013
Being the target of a theft ring is bad enough, but when a botched break-in leads to a fire, a bad situation transforms into a horrific incident. That is what happened when a large fire recently broke out in the middle of the night at Kamps Pallets in Detroit, Mich.
The fire destroyed a large part of a building as well as some inventory. News reports indicated that the fire was under investigation. Arson was suspected due to recent break-in attempts. Bernie Kamps, the chief executive officer of Kamps Pallets, confirmed that video surveillance caught thieves breaking into the facility to steal wire pipe and other precious metals from the plant. They accidently started an electrical fire while attempting to remove metal from the facility. The Detroit facility had cameras but no alarms even though it was in a somewhat risky neighborhood.
Kamps said, “If the facility had an alarm, the plant likely would not have had a fire because criminals would have left quickly.”
He added, “Some of my plants have alarms on them. After this incident, all of my plants are going to have alarms and cameras.”
The poor economy combined with the high street value of precious metals has made copper and other metal fixtures an attractive target for would-be thieves. Portable equipment, such as forklifts, as well as tools and even loads of pallets and lumber are also possible targets. Pallet and lumber firms must take steps to deter thieves and let them know that this will not be an easy score. From cameras and alarms to good lighting and fences can make the job of any thief much harder.
Consulting with a security company as well as the local police can help you make sure that you reduce risks and prepare for the worse. How you respond after an incident all starts with preparation before it ever starts. Kamps said, “My managers did a good job. It’s heroic what those guys did. We never missed a load despite the fire.”
Kamps Pallets temporarily relocated to a facility down the street and plans to move to a permanent new home about twelve miles away. Besides the building being badly burned, Kamps also lost 20% of its standing inventory, 6-8 forklifts and some bandsaws. Kamps added, “It was very disruptive and stressful. But I am really impressed with my team.”
All the losses were well insured so the financial hit has been minimized. But a theft or fire certainly changes how you look at the world. It lets you know that disaster can strike quickly. It is better to be prepared now.
Kamps explained, “It is amazing how three criminals can change your business condition in only a few minutes.”
Do you want reprints or a copyright license for this article? Click here
Research and connect with suppliers mentioned in this article using our FREE ZIP Online service.