Monday, June 20, 2016

Brazen Car Thief Takes Ohio Dealership by Surprise

Car thief at nightIt took only nine minutes for a car thief in Columbus, OH, to walk into a dealership, take a set keys that was left unattended and drive off the lot in one of the dealership's cars — all while employees and buyers were still on the showroom floor.

The Toyota West dealership was just closing when the thief came to perform his quick heist. Despite security cameras recording his every move and the activity of employees on the sales floor, the perpetrator was able to steal keys to a $12,000 SUV, which he drove off in. The security cameras showed a distraught salesman looking for the keys seconds before the thief drove the vehicle off the lot. The keys had been left unattended, possibly after a test drive.

Employee accountability is vital at dealerships, where keys need to be easily accessible for test drives or maintenance work. When keys are misplaced or stolen, dealerships face liability risks as well as the extra expense of replacing keys. To limit liability and avoid these potential expenses, some dealerships use an electronic key control system

By requiring employees to check out keys from the key control system, dealership managers can know who has accessed a specific key and when, while ensuring keys are returned on time.

If you’ve implemented an electronic key control system, take advantage of its ability to create an audit trail in real time when enforcing policies like requiring all keys to be kept in the system and setting up user profiles to allow only authorized employees to gain key access. To prevent theft, keep employees accountable for returning keys to the system right after test drives, minimizing the possibility of a quick heist like the one mentioned above.

To learn more about the importance of employee accountability, check out this post.

Thursday, June 9, 2016

$16,000 Thefts From Toronto Police Stations Show No Signs of Forced Entry

In the last five years, Toronto Police stations have seen more than $16,000 worth of items go missing and have received 46 reported thefts.
Key in Lock

The biggest loss the stations faced was the theft of a manila envelope with more than $2,500 in cash for police gym memberships. The envelope was taken from a shared locker.

The stolen items also included equipment used for station operations and community events. Thieves swiped a bulletproof vest, a gas mask, building materials for a new police station and $1,500 in camera equipment the Toronto Police Intelligence Services had purchased.

With the stations’ history of thefts, one station locked up two Xbox game consoles, which the station had purchased for a local event where neighborhood youth could play video games with officers. Somehow, however, a thief allegedly got hold of a key to the basement where the equipment was kept and stole a console and video game worth nearly $260.

Thieves have also targeted miscellaneous personal items left on police properties.

There were no signs of forced entry in any of these thefts, but without an adequate audit trail, there is no way to know if the theft was an inside job.

Toronto Police stations would have benefited from having a process for securing keys and creating an audit trail of all employees who used those keys. For example, if the stations implemented a high-security electronic key control system, they could control access to keys by keeping them physically locked down in a secure panel or electronic drawer.

The system would require authorized users to log in via biometric fingerprint authentication or password, and a report of all system activity would be automatically recorded. In addition, some electronic key control systems include a built-in, motion-activated security camera, which would provide an additional level of insight into system activity.

To ensure managers were always informed of who was accessing the organization’s valuable keys and assets, system reports and alerts could be sent directly to the system administrator(s) via text or email.

For more information on how electronic key control helps with asset management, check out this post.

Friday, June 3, 2016

Key Theft Puts Des Moines Properties at Risk

All it took was an unlocked truck parked in a fast-food lot for a thief to gain access to city properties across the entire city of Des Moines, IA.

Up-close photo of set of keys. Late last year, a city employee stopped at a fast-food restaurant for lunch, leaving a set of city keys in his unlocked truck. Someone then opened the vehicle doors and stole the employee’s lunchbox with the set of keys inside, giving the thief access to several locks around the city. Just a few days later, the city’s softball park was broken into, though it wasn’t confirmed if the two incidents were related.

With the loss of these keys, the city faced the large cost of re-keying locks and replacing keys. The city can help prevent future incidents and unwanted spending by using an electronic key management system.

In the system, keys are securely locked away in electronic steel drawers that can only be accessed using a fingerprint, password or key fob. The system provides a complete overview of key activity, which allows managers to determine which employee has been using a particular key. If an incident occurs in which a key is lost or stolen, management can immediately determine who the responsible employee was and take action.

In addition, the system activity can be viewed on the web in case managers are not on-site and are unable to physically log in to the system.

Click here for another example of how implementing access levels could have helped keep employees accountable and reduce theft. 

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Vehicles Stolen From Milwaukee County Dealerships

Car thief driving stolen carMilwaukee County is no stranger to auto theft, with yet another dealership hit by thieves. In the past nine months, thieves have broken into nearly 20 businesses to steal keys and, in some cases, have driven cars right out of the dealerships' front doors.

According to the John Amato Hyundai dealer, if these thefts continue, then insurance rates for auto dealers in Milwaukee will increase, adding to the vehicles' sticker prices.

Dealers around the area have taken precautions by verifying all cars are locked, alarms and cameras are on, and keys are stored in a lock box or taken home at the end of the day.

In order to protect your vehicles from being stolen, it is vital to maintain control of your keys. Consider using an electronic key control system equipped with tamper-proof cabinets or drawers that can only be accessed by authorized users via password and/or fingerprint. By automating the key control process rather than storing keys in a lock box, you are able to maintain accountability over your inventory.

For additional security, alerts can be sent immediately to a cell phone or email address if an unauthorized user attempts to access the keys. There are also reporting capabilities that allow users to see when keys were checked out and who checked them out.

For more information, read how the Russell & Smith Automotive Group has benefited from implementing an electronic key control system.

Thursday, May 19, 2016

The Cost of Losing Your Keys

Surprised businessman.
On a normal business day at your dealership, keys pass through hundreds of hands. They're passed back and forth between salespeople, sales managers, porters, servicemen and F&I employees, which can quickly cause disorganization.

Disorganization due to unidentified or lost keys results in impatient customers waiting for a test drive. Many dealerships are still using peg boards or like systems to account for vehicle keys.  With manual systems like this, there are no accurate ways to determine how long someone has checked out a key or even who checked it out. Sometimes employees check out keys and forget to return them, and other times keys go missing without documentation of the last person to check them out.

Mismanaging dozens or hundreds of vehicle keys can lead to unnecessary expenses. Smart keys — key fobs that lock, unlock and start vehicles based on proximity alone — are increasing in popularity and are generally more expensive than traditional keys, costing about $400 to $800 to replace. These costs quickly escalate when incurred in a large dealership. For example, if your dealership loses 10 keys a month, replacement keys can cost you up to $96,000 a year.

Eliminate these avoidable expenses with an electronic key management system. These systems provide full inventory control with extensive reporting capabilities that allow you to better organize and manage your keys. The systems automatically record the employee’s name, along with the date and time the key was requested. If a key goes missing, you can quickly identify who checked out the key and resolve the issue promptly.

Losing a key is not only costly; it disrupts the workplace and can ultimately lead to a lost vehicle sale. Contact us for more information.

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Key Control Lessons We Can Learn From Higher Education Institutions

University campusSecurity breaches due to improperly secured keys have been a recent trend among universities and colleges. Here are a few incidents that could have been prevented with electronic key control, as well as the lessons we can learn from them.

Know When Keys Go Missing


The University of Southern Maine is increasing its security measures after a security breach that could have placed millions of dollars of personal property as well as confidential records at risk. According to university officials, someone broke into a parked university van and stole a set of keys that gave the burglar access to between 40 and 50 campus buildings.

Set up email and text alerts to notify you when a key has been checked out longer than the allotted time. In addition to limiting the time an employee can have a key checked out, email and text alerts can notify you of missing or overdue keys. The alert will specify which key is missing and which employee last checked it out. Electronic key control will not only keep your keys safe, but it will keep authorized users accountable for returning keys, which reduces the chance of lost keys.

Enforce Employee Accountability


When a University of Central Arkansas (UCA) professor let a student borrow the grand master key to the campus, the student took advantage of it and used the key to steal various office keys that led him to pharmaceuticals and exam answers. After further investigation, it was found that the key belonged to UCA’s chief of staff. The replacement cost of the grand master key alone is a whopping $100,000, not to mention the added cost of the lower-level keys ($45) and a general building master key ($5,000).

It’s vital to hold your employees accountable for the amount of time they possess a key. Without certain key control procedures, it’s difficult to track key activity, including who had keys last. To avoid high replacement costs, strengthen security with an automated key control system by setting up access levels for your employees. This way, administrators are able to set specific permissions for their employees. By limiting your employee’s access to certain keys, you greatly reduce the chance of key theft and enforce employee accountability.

Prevent Repeated Security Breaches


Eastern Michigan University (EMU) is re-keying every room in one of its residence halls after the master key was stolen. This is not the first time EMU has had an issue with key security. A similar issue arose after a set of master keys to the entire campus was taken from a cart left unattended by a subcontractor working for the university. The university re-keyed interior and exterior locks in dorms and exterior locks to other buildings. Faculty members filed a grievance, reporting that the university was slow to respond.

In order to prevent repeated breaches, it’s important to have an electronic key control system in place. To access a key, a user must log in with a password and/or fingerprint. The name of the user who checked out the key is electronically stored along with the date and time the key was taken. You can also set up email or text alerts to notify you if a key is overdue. This way, you can address a security breach promptly.

Want to learn more about electronic key control for universities? Check out our blog “The Art of Asset Management for Higher Education.”

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Former NBA Player’s Used Vehicle Stolen off Dealership Lot

Having cars stolen off the lot is one of the worst things that can happen to a dealership, but New Deal Used Car lot in Spokane Valley experienced something even worse — two cars, a safe full of keys and the titles to all the cars were stolen, leaving the employees unable to make any sales.

Car robber at night
When employee Scott Fitzgerald arrived at work one morning, he noticed the dealership had been
ransacked by thieves. One of the two vehicles stolen happened to be a Cadillac SUV previously owned by former NBA star Shaquille O’Neal. As if that wasn’t enough, the safe stolen by the thieves contained keys and titles to all 109 vehicles on the lot.

Without titles to the vehicles, the dealership was unable to make any car sales, and employees couldn’t bring in any revenue until the titles were replaced, which was expected to take at least three weeks.

An electronic key control system can reduce the likelihood of nightmares like this one and give managers peace of mind. With these systems, keys are stored in tamper-proof steel cabinets or drawers that can only be accessed with a password, fingerprint scan or key fob. When a key isn’t returned to a drawer within a specified amount of time, management is alerted via text, email or audible alarm.

How do you keep your keys accounted for? Let us know in the comments.