How to theft proof a drop box mount.
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Thread: How to theft proof a drop box mount.

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    How to theft proof a drop box mount.

    My wife is our county Treasurer. Her office recently purchased an outdoor drop box for property tax payments. County highway department employees installed the box. The pedestal for the drop box has a flange at the bottom. The flange is mounted to the sidewalk with 4 - 1/2" stainless steel wedge anchors with nuts & washers.

    After I saw how the box was attached to the sidewalk, I told my wife that it would only take a couple of minutes for someone to unbolt the box & carry it away.

    Other than welding the nuts to the anchors, are there any other options for making the box more theft proof?
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    Even welded nuts can quickly be defeated witha cordless cutoff grinder.

    Some type of alarm that call the Police if tampered with? Or tracking device?

    Our Township's drop box is on the outside of the Township hall, it's a door like mail deposit box that dumps to the inside without allowing anyone to reach inside. It's also on the front of the building in plain sight.
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    I dunno that it would matter much. Nowadays, if they want it bad enough they steal a truck, run it over and then pick up (or drag off with a chain) what they want. If they can do it with a 600 lb ATM that is inside a building, I don't see where something like this stands a chance.

    But these are tax payments. I'd think most people that would be using that drop box would be paying via check. I'd put a great big "DO NOT PUT CASH IN THIS BOX!" sign on it. Thieves aren't likely to be very interested in a bunch of checks.
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    Quote Originally Posted by ChrisR View Post
    My wife is our county Treasurer. Her office recently purchased an outdoor drop box for property tax payments. County highway department employees installed the box. The pedestal for the drop box has a flange at the bottom. The flange is mounted to the sidewalk with 4 - 1/2" stainless steel wedge anchors with nuts & washers.

    After I saw how the box was attached to the sidewalk, I told my wife that it would only take a couple of minutes for someone to unbolt the box & carry it away.

    Other than welding the nuts to the anchors, are there any other options for making the box more theft proof?
    I know there are theft proof hardware of different types, but I am not sure about that size and type. Someone could walk up to the box with a 22 volt battery powered impact and back off the nuts in no time.

    A friend of mine had his rental check drop box broken into. In his case, they opened the lock and in other cases, they stuck a 5 gallon paint stir stick coated with contact cement down into the slot and grabbed envelopes.

    I bought a very small, motion activated camera and put it in the very back of the box, in fact, it was magnetic and stuck to the rear of the box. I figured we would get an image of whoever opened the box.

    It didn't even take 24 hours and we had the thief's picture and a very good picture at that. Most people bend down to look into the box to make sure they grabbed everything, just like when people get their mail. He did just that and sure enough, we ended up with picture that was like he posed for it. I posted pictures of the camera in the "Gear Grinder" thread. I deleted the camera picture from my phone, but a link to it on Amazon is below. The entire camera is the size of the my thumb nail.

    I also set up another water proof tiny camera across the street to watch the box. That one was in a water proof case and I hooked up a external battery source knowing it would record a lot of images as people and cars went past. Sure enough, it got the car, make and model and even the license plate. It also recorded the woman's picture who was driving the car, with a good enough series of pictures to make an ID.

    Police arrested both within a short period of time. Turns out they were hitting rent check drop boxes over about a 50 mile radius. They were able to cash the Postal money orders and while the post office did replace them, the hassle and time to get new money orders and also deal with this scum is frustrating.

    So, I would encourage at least two different camera sources to monitor the box. At least one in side the box in case the get it open and another to watch the box from other vantage points.

    I once did this to watch a friends remote building. I made what looked like a small bird house and mounted it on the tree to watch the building. I mounted the camera and an external battery source to power the camera long term.

    Sure enough, we got the images of those thieves as well. The one thing I suggest you do, if you use a covert bird house, is to put plexiglass over the hole so the birds or bugs can't get in, but also make the hole for the birds up high on the house and the hole for the camera to see much smaller and lower. Birds try to fly into the house and when I had the camera behind the hole with the plexiglass, we ended up with tons of bird pictures trying to get into the house. So, make sure the actual picture taking hole and the motion sensor hole are not the same as the one the birds will try to use........Other than that, it worked well.

    The bird house kept the camera out of the elements and I put a hinge on the side of it when I built so it was easy to open to swap out memory cards, battery packs, etc.

    Lots of creative ways to hide covert cameras. As long as they aren't obvious, most will never notice them.

    This was the camera used inside the box.......

    https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...?ie=UTF8&psc=1


    This was the camera used across the road. I used this one because of it's water proof case and size.

    https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...?ie=UTF8&psc=1

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    A recent estimate I saw said between 7 to 12% of the population, depending upon the area, are "un-banked". While I doubt there are many property owners who are "un-banked" as they have to have a means of making mortgage payments, there are likely some. And these people often use Postal Money Orders and Walmart's Money Orders as well as Western Union, etc.

    In fact, my neighbor is an executive for Walgreens and his job is to develop products to serve the "Un-banked Customer Segment" which he said at Walgreens, can be as high as 1 in 3 customers at some urban stores. He also just told me this weekend that they set their product prices at 140% to 210% of what Walmart charges, depending upon how far the Walmart is from Walgreens. The further people have to drive to Walmart, the higher Walgreens prices the items which are frequent selling consumer staples.


    The money orders are much easier to cash and in the case of my friends rent box being hit, they cashed every postal money order they got. They even scratched out my buddies business name on the money order and wrote in another name and they were cashed. I have copies of the money orders and it appears they were cashed at the post office. I checked with the post office and they will cash postal money orders. You would think not ones which had been altered, but they were cashed.

    The post office replaced the money orders, but it was fortunate the people who got them had the money order number or otherwise, the post office wouldn't have been able to replace them without the tracking number.

    So while you would think checks wouldn't be a target, they are.

    Also, they don't even penetrate the box in some cases, they use the paint stir sticks coated with contact cement and grabbed envelopes from inside of the one office building drawer. The checks go through a slot into a box on the inside of the door. Those, they grabbed with the contact cement trick.

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    Quote Originally Posted by JimR View Post
    I dunno that it would matter much. Nowadays, if they want it bad enough they steal a truck, run it over and then pick up (or drag off with a chain) what they want. If they can do it with a 600 lb ATM that is inside a building, I don't see where something like this stands a chance.

    But these are tax payments. I'd think most people that would be using that drop box would be paying via check. I'd put a great big "DO NOT PUT CASH IN THIS BOX!" sign on it. Thieves aren't likely to be very interested in a bunch of checks.
    This.


    There is no such thing as perfectly secure. The goal of security and anti-theft is to make it HARDER to breach/steal, not impossible. Basically, you need to slow them down long enough for someone to notice the attempt and thwart it in a more "perfect" way. Adding a security camera or two would make it more likely to be able to record WHO damaged/stole anything if it were to get that far. Having the camera monitored by police 24/7 would further decrease the likelihood of an actual theft being able to occur.

    Nothing's perfect.
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    Thank you for all of the replies.
    My goal is to slow down someone that might attempt to take the box.
    My plan is to install 2 stop collars on each anchor. Then make a cover for each anchor out of pvc pipe & a cap.
    I will then fill the covers with silicone caulking & set them over the anchors.

    I believe cameras are a good idea, but the county powers do not.
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    Unfortunately Locks are only meant to keep honest people out.

    Add a mail flap to the door of the office to drop payments off inside?
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    Quote Originally Posted by ChrisR View Post
    Thank you for all of the replies.
    My goal is to slow down someone that might attempt to take the box.
    My plan is to install 2 stop collars on each anchor. Then make a cover for each anchor out of pvc pipe & a cap.
    I will then fill the covers with silicone caulking & set them over the anchors.

    I believe cameras are a good idea, but the county powers do not.
    Everything has a cost and you horse trade the different costs...

    Is protecting those boxes worth $X? If so, spend $X. If not, spend different. That's what it boils down to.

    When anyone says "I can't justify that cost", I respond with something like "What's it worth to you if it gets broken/stolen/compromised?"
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    Watch a few episodes of the lock picking lawyer on YouTube and you will realize that cameras and catching a thief after the act is the only option for this type of installation.

    The only more secure method is having the box inside the building with a mail slot on the outside.

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