A $35 tracking device helped a Calgary contractor find $13,000 worth of stolen construction material earlier this month.
After having a full siding package and a trim package ripped off from residential building sites in the northeast neighbourhood of Cornerstone, the owner of Pierrefect Contracting spent $130 for a four-pack of Apple AirTags.
“A lot of companies are getting their supplies stolen right now,” Pierre Dumont says.
The supplies in question are often LP SmartSide products, which include lap siding, trim, fascia and shakes.
Large contractors appear to be first in line when it comes to securing such popular products.
“Suppliers are focused more on bigger companies. A lot of little companies can’t get the products,” Dumont says.
Since his AirTag success, he’s got almost a dozen phone calls from other siding companies who want to hear how he got his property back.
Dumont was already familiar with AirTags and figured he’d put the technology to use with his materials, which come pre-packaged.
“I drilled a hole in the package and slipped an AirTag inside,” he says.
AirTags work by sending a Bluetooth signal to devices in the “Find My” network.
The devices send the location of the AirTag to the iCloud, allowing the user to go to their Find My app and see the location on a map.
When an unfamiliar AirTag location showed up on Dumont’s iPhone last week, he called a couple of his workers and they travelled to the location in the northeast Castleridge area.
They found the house, which Dumont says looked recently renovated, and confronted a female at the home.
“She kept saying she didn’t steal something,” Dumont says.
But the AirTag arrow indicated the hot goods were nine metres away in the back yard.
The woman continued to deny possession of the siding and then claimed she couldn’t speak English.
Dumont by then had hopped the fence.
“I saw my material. It was still in the packing.”
About 15 minutes later, two males showed up. The two men unlocked the fence and helped Dumont and his employee load Dumont’s trailer with his property.
The Calgary police also arrived.
According to Dumont, the homeowner, who also owns a siding company, has been charged with possession of stolen property.
Adding further evidence was that Dumont has a company stamp which he puts on all of his materials.
“I saw my name all over the product,” he says of the still-packaged siding.
As well, the homeowner had a security camera and police were able to view footage that showed the pilfered goods being brought to the Castleridge home, Dumont says.
“The $130 price (for the AirTags) turned out to be a pretty good idea.”
Because there is such great demand for building products like siding, he recommends customers should research who they hire.
“Use reputable companies. There’s a lot of bad companies out there,” Dumont says.
Calgary police have not confirmed the names of the accused or what charges they face.