Archive for category Loss prevention

A Tale of Two Break-ins

It was the best of heists, it was the worst of heists.

The victim is E-Cigarettes Wholesale, and they supply ‘e-cigarettes’ to almost 1200 retailers nation-wide. As a result, they warehouse  hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of easily sellable, high demand products.

The best of heists!

The thief broke in through the wall from the adjoining tenant space.

The thief broke in through the wall from the adjoining tenant space.

This is what actually happened on the evening of Sunday, June 15th in Dania Beach, Florida, USA. At around 6pm, a thief breaks into an auto repair business in a multi-tenant building on Tigertail Boulevard. The auto shop doesn’t have much in the way of security, but the e-cig warehouse next door does.  They do everything right – cameras, door sensors, passive IR motion detectors covering the access points, covering the windows, covering the doors.

The thief knows this, the theory is that he had checked the place out on an earlier visit. So, he doesn’t come in through the doors, or the windows. He breaks in through the common wall from the auto repair shop next door. He cuts a hole through the two layers of dry-wall and goes to work. He stayes away from the PIR motion detectors around the front of the warehouse, and as a result no alarms are sent to the monitoring center.

The cameras catch almost every move he makes, they dutifully record the thief for almost six hours as he loads over $300,000 worth of product into his truck, parked in the auto shop. The video record will be great, after the fact, but tonight they just silently record.

The thief makes around fifty thousand dollars an hour for tonight’s work.

The first thing anyone knows of the break-in is Monday morning, long after the thief is gone, long after the merchandise is stolen.  It was the best of heists.

The Worst of Heists

Let’s roll the cameras back to the Sunday afternoon, and make one change. The thief still shows up at six pm, and breaks into the auto repair shop next door. He still pulls in his truck and gets to work tearing down the dry-wall between the two businesses. He knows where the motion detectors are, since they are mounted to the walls. What he doesn’t know is where the security robot¹ is on its nightly patrol.

Because this time, the manager has added a mobile security robot to his security system. It goes to work when the manager closes up shop and sets the alarm. It patrols the warehouse area, looking for motion, looking for intruders all night long, all weekend² long. And when it detects a problem, it doesn’t just record the video – it sends the alarm into the monitoring center. It also checks for smoke, fire, high humidity, but tonight that doesn’t matter.

Robot patrolling a receiving dock, looking for intruders and monitoring changing temperatures.

Robot patrolling a receiving dock, looking for intruders and monitoring changing temperatures.

So, when the thief breaks through the last layer of dry-wall and looks into the darkened warehouse, he sees the flickering blue light of the robot on patrol, he sees the red glow of its sensors as it moves across the warehouse floor, and he knows that this break-in is not going to go well. The robot detects the intruder and immediately sends an alert to the monitoring center. It activated its high intensity LED headlights, and transmits close-up, well lit, high definition video of the thief as he pulls his head back through the hole in the wall, and scrambles for his truck, empty handed. The police have already been dispatched to the warehouse, but the robot has done its job, the business owner’s livelihood, his inventory, is safe.

So at worst, the business owner needs to repair the wall, rather than try to replace nearly half a million dollars worth of stock. She doesn’t have to call up her best customers and tell them they are out of luck, they are not going to be able to restock their shelves for a while.

Actually, it is even simpler than that. When the thief was checking out the warehouse last week – he saw the sign in the front window “Protected by Security Robots” and he decided to take his business somewhere else, someplace less well protected.

It was the best of heists,
it was the worst of heists,
it was the age of static security,
it was the age of mobile security robots…..

 


Where is your Robot?™  Ours are helping businesses stay in business.


Learn more about the Gamma 2 Robotics line of Security Robots, and see if one is right for your critical security needs. If you want to discuss how easy it is put put a security robot to work, give us a call at 303-778-7400


  1. The robot is described with several option packages installed
  2. Requires the optional self-charging docking station, available in September of 2014

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Midnight Robot at the Tradeshow

It was a smallish show, as trade shows go. Only around 50,000 square feet of exhibits. It was kind of a cool show though – the Denver Mini Maker Faire. There were around 150 exhibitors, showing off bleeding-edge new technology alongside seriously retro-tech. A perfect environment for the use of autonomous mobile security robots.

The security robot is on patrol in a high tech exhibit area. Protecting hundreds of thousands of dollars of exhibits overnight.

The security robot is on patrol in a high tech exhibit area, protecting hundreds of thousands of dollars of exhibitor’s equipment overnight.

The Vigilant robot wasn’t the only ‘bot there – not by a long shot. The difference was that the other robots were shut down, and would remain so until the show opened again at 9 am the next day. The Vigilant security robot was working. It was about half way through a 12 hour shift as part of the overnight security team. The facility is part of Denver’s National Western Complex, and this is the third event in the last 18 months for which Gamma 2 Robotics‘ robots have provided security. It is almost like coming home for the robots. Of course the exhibit layout was different – every show has its own layout. But it took less time to configure the robot for the new layout than it took the exhibitors to move in, so the robot was ready to roll long before the doors were locked for the night.

This morning (it’s around 2am) the robot is rolling past 3-D printers, air cannons, massive lasers, computer controlled sewing machines, CNC routers, and of course dozens of other robots; but as I said, they are here as displays, while the security robot is doing its job – mile after mile of dull patrolling. As it patrols, it scans for unexpected motion, high temperatures, boxes blocking aisles: the kinds of things that might indicate a potential problem, a potential intruder.

Last night was quiet, just like tonight will probably be. That’s one of the hardest things about the night security job. 99.9% of the time – nothing ever happens, and that is the core problem. It is really hard for people to stay focused, to stay vigilant, when there is nothing to focus on. That’s something computers and robots are good at. The Vigilant robot doesn’t care that it has been up and down this aisle every 10 minutes for the last 7 hours, or for the 12 hours last night. It still does its job of patrolling, observing, and reporting, because that is what is needed to protect lives and property.

For those of you who are numbers people, the robot patrols a 25,000 square foot area, and has four patrols configured. These range from covering the full exhibit area, down to a 5 minute detail scan of the ‘high value’ section. This area is only 8000 square feet but loaded with high tech. The robot is on duty for a 12 hour shift without needing any ‘down time’ for recharging. During its shift the Vigilant robot will travel around 8 miles. It doesn’t move fast – but it just keeps patrolling all night long: keeping its electronic sensors on all the high tech machines on display.

This show is loaded with cutting edge equipment. Between the 3-D scanners, 3-D printers, Laser engravers and loads of artwork, there is at least $250,000 worth of displays and technology here tonight. Next week it will be a different event with a different theme, but the same key problems – keeping the exhibitors and their property safe. But that is no problem for the security robot. It ‘knows’ what its job is and it just keeps patrolling, keeping things safe, Always Vigilant.

 


Where is your robot?  Ours were at work protecting the exhibits at a major show in Denver.

Want More information about the Vigilant Security Robots?  Here is our website.


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Security Robots and the Internet of Things

Hon, did I leave the monthly report up in the kitchen?”  Steve’s voice floated up from the home office, and Julie looked around the kitchen.  “No, I don’t see it up here Steve. Where else might you have left it?”

Darn, I wonder if I left it on my desk at the store,” Steve muttered. It was almost  9 pm and the store would be closed up and everyone gone.  Steve went upstairs to the kitchen.  “I don’t want to drive all the way down to the store, if the report isn’t there,” he told Julie, ” It would take me an hour to get there and back.”

The 4ft tall security robot points its top-mounted camera at the surface of a workstation.

The Vigilant security robot responds to a secure remote request to relay an image of the desktop.

Well, that’s easy to check,” said his wife.  She walked over to the tablet computer that she had been using to check on flights, and logged into the security portal for their business.  After using the two factor authentication, a secure connection was setup. She sent a command to the Vigilant security robot that was currently patrolling the warehouse area. The robot stopped its patrol,  went to the office area and over to Steve’s desk.

Julie activated the on-board camera system and used the camera controls to scan the top of Steve’s desk. “Steve, the report is not on your desk, anywhere else it might be?” Steve thought for a moment, “Wait, I remember! I had it on top of the box of samples I put in the trunk. I’ll bet that’s where it is.”  As he went to the garage to check the trunk of his car, Julie pulled up the shift report from the Security Robot, and noticed that there had been reports of break-ins through high windows in other warehouses in the area. She quickly told the robot to focus more patrol time in the warehouse, and to do a high-visibility patrol – activating its headlights as it passed the windows.

Steve came back from the garage with the report in his hand and mentioned that he would have been really mad if he had had to drive all the way down to the office only to find that the report wasn’t there.

As the Internet of Things continues to grow, we will experience incidents like this more and more frequently.  We will continue to have more access and more control over every day actions, regardless of where we are in the world at the time.  The Security Robots available from Gamma 2 Robotics are already ‘internet aware’ and give their owners unprecedented control of their physical security assets – when you need them, where you need them!

To learn more about the capabilities of Vigilant Security Robots and The Internet of Things, contact us by web or phone: +1 303.778.7400


Where is your robot?™  Our  American-made security robots are at work keeping people and property safe and secure.


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Threat Level: Elevated

Mobile robot patrolling garage

The Vigilus Mobile Camera Platform Robot on patrol in a warehouse in Denver, CO. The security robot is manufactured by Vigilant Robots.

The Vigilus® security robot went on duty at 19:00.
It powered up, and ran a complete set of self-diagnostic tests. It logged that it was at 99.6% effectiveness.Its job was to provide security patrols until 08:00 tomorrow, covering the electronics warehouse and the front office. It would move between these two areas of the building automatically, and scan for intruders, smoke or fire, and any unexpected movement in the space.

For a human this would be a cold and lonely shift, and it would take strong discipline to stay alert and focused.  And, of course, the human would require relief after only  eight to ten hours, while the security robot could do the thirteen hour patrol, and still have battery reserves to handle any incidents.

The business owner knew that according to the most recent published police reports, there had been a series of break-ins in the neighborhood.  They involved people coming through high windows in the warehouses, and leaving through the garage door with all the loot.  In many cases the doors were alarmed, but the windows (over eight feet from the ground) were not. So the alarms went off when the garage doors were opened, but by then the thieves were on their way out.

High windows are often vulnerable, and may not be included in the alarm system.

High windows are often vulnerable, and may not be included in the alarm system.

She quickly selected the patrol schedule that spent twice as much time in the warehouse side of the building, and run the high-visibility patrols, which would cause the robot to activate its headlights when patrolling by the windows. The robot logged the new instructions and went to work, focusing its patrols on the areas that were most at risk. After the crime patterns changed, the owner would request a new pattern of patrols – targeted for the exact types of activity for the area.

As all Security Managers know, the world is constantly changing and it is critical to be able to react to changing conditions.  Threats come and go, and resources must be deployed in response to today’s conditions not last month’s or last year’s situation.  But keeping current with the changing threat profiles can be a lot of work, and can lead to new challenges for the security team. With fixed sensors and cameras, it can be impossible to adapt to changes on a week by week basis, yet we all know that our systems should adapt to the current conditions. As simply as a Security Manager might tell Bob “There have been a number of break-ins on the warehouse side around here, so pay extra attention the back;” the security robot can adapt its patrols in response to current threats.  As it happened this was a quiet night.  Was it due to the robot activating its headlights every time it went by the windows in the warehouse?

Want to learn more about putting a Vigilus® security robot to work?  Contact Vigilant Robots at +1.303.778.7400, or check out our website!


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The Robot and the Shoplifter

Steve arriving at work. Not an employee - a shoplifter.

Steve arriving at work. Not an employee – a shoplifter.

Steve barely glanced upwards as he strode through the doors of the local office retailer. He deliberately didn’t ‘notice’ the greeter at the shopping carts, Steve looked like he was a man on a mission. Not one of those laid-back shoppers, he gave the impression of someone who wanted to get in, get what he was looking for, and get out with the minimum hassle. And that is exactly the image he wanted to convey.

He didn’t look up at the security cameras in the ceiling, he had scoped those out on an earlier visit. So, he went straight back to the electronics section. He stayed away from the really high end products, instead he went to the mid-range stuff, under a hundred dollars, and hit the digital recorders, all sealed up in bulky plastic clam-shells, with RFID tags attached. He checked the locations of the clerks, blocked the view of the overhead camera with his body, and deftly slit the bottom of the clam-shell on his target. He didn’t remove anything yet, he just cut open the bottom of the package.  Then, with his hands clearly empty, he walked down the aisle to look at flash drives.  He sorted through a couple, while he waited to see if anyone was going to respond to his preparations.

At this point the hard work was done, he would just walk back, block the camera again, and with a quick twist, slip the recorder into his hand, and into his waistband; leaving the empty package and the RFID tag on the rack. Easy-peasey.  Then he’d shake his head, look disgusted and walk out – if anyone asked he’d explain that they didn’t have the model he wanted, and he would order it from the online store.

A robot on patrol

Security robots cannot be ‘socially engineered’ and stay focused on their assigned tasks.

Then things went wrong – wrong from Steve’s perspective. The Security Robot came around the corner of the aisle, and stopped – looking at Steve. It was about five feet tall, and moved quietly on rubber wheels. It had a camera on top pointed right at Steve. This camera was not in the ceiling several aisles away, it was within 10 feet and Steve knew that a perfect image of his face was already recorded. He also knew that he didn’t know anything about the other capabilities of this security robot. The fact that he didn’t know made the risks too high.

Was a facial recognition program already scanning through thousands of stored images, looking for him? He had heard that they did this in Vegas, and you would get busted before you made it past the door. Was the robot already radioing a human security officer, who would be waiting up front?  Could the security robot scan his pulse and respiration to detect his stress levels?  Steve just didn’t know, and not knowing was enough to stop his plan in its tracks.

Steve abandoned his plan to rip-off this store, and started walking towards the front. The robot rolled along behind him.  Was it following him even now? Steve simply didn’t know and that convinced him to move faster. As he left the electronics section, the security robot turned and went back on patrol. “That thing is just too damn smart,” thought Steve. And he mentally crossed this store off his ‘hit list’.  “Better safe than arrested,” he said to himself.

Theft from retail stores amounts to 35 million dollars a day according to some studies, and is a leading cause of losses to retail businesses. Hundreds of millions more are spent on theft resistant packaging, RFID tags, and other forms of theft prevention. But it is generally agreed that deterrence is the best solution – keep the thieves out in the first place.  We are working on our “Retail Loss Prevention” option package for our award winning security robots, to aid in the reduction of these types of thefts.


For more information about our advanced security robots, contact Vigilant Robots at 303-778-7400


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