Tortola Island is the largest of the British Virgin Islands located in the Caribbean Sea. It has a population of approximately 24 thousand and is well known for its beautiful beaches, coral reef’s, offshore companies and billionaires. On the 7th of September 2017 Tortola was hit by one of the strongest category 5 storms in history, Hurricane Irma. Two weeks later it was hit again by Hurricane Maria. Tortola was devastated and with that devastation crime and unrest followed on the island.
The telecommunications company infrastructure on the island was hit hard, towers had fallen and telecom sites destroyed. As the company began critical infrastructure recovery and repair, they fell victim to theft, specifically theft of generators units. Typically a small generator unit will cost the company in excess $15K.
Reconnaissance Management S.A. were engaged by the client to deploy on the Tortola Island, investigate the theft, work with local police to make arrests and put measures in place to recover generator units if they are stolen in the future.
Following a number of weeks on the island after successful results from investigations and arrests made, technical measures had to be put in place to track generators. Reconnaissance have tracked vehicles for many years in Haiti and across Europe with tried and tested solutions, generators however pose a different challenge.
Normal vehicle GPS tracking systems require a power source to operate, this is fed from the vehicle power supply. The GPS tracking system needed to be installed covertly, our aim was not to deter the crime but to catch the criminal and recover the asset. The generator units on the island did not operate on a full time basis, they had down time therefore using the generators power supply was not an option, also generators do not offer many inconspicuous areas to install covert trackers.
Reconnaissance sourced from their GPS manufacturing partner a long-life battery operated only GPS tracker. The unit had a large magnet moulded into the hardened case for attaching to the steel frame of the generator. After trial and error testing on the island and factoring in vibration from the generators, the intense heat the unit had to work within amongst other factors the units were ready for deployment.
Trends revealed that the thefts had occurred in certain areas on the island, therefor Reconnaissance targeted these areas specifically and installed covert GPS tracking systems in key locations. This solution proved cost effective for the client while still addressing the issue and fulfilling the task.