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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? :dunno: Or tracking device? :dunno:

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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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/B07G5W3NSK/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_asin_title_o09_s00?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/B07NP4SPV3/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_asin_title_o09_s00?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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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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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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Years ago I worked in the security systems business. We had very secure installations that were protected with a UL Bell. The outer box of the UL bell was made with heavy gauge steel. There was a large and very long bolt in each corner. Two of the bolts in opposing corners had tamper switches behind them, which would automatically set off the bell and notify the alarm company if tripped.
In this era, battery operated tools didn't exist. It took 3 or 4 minutes to turn one of these bolts out.

Inside the outer box, there was a tough inner box, also heavy gauge steel, that was electrically isolated from the outer box. If you tried to drill through the outer box, the moment your drill bit touched the inner box you would short the tamper circuit and set everything off.

The bell was connected with heavy duty conduit all the way to the alarm control box. If you pried or pulled the bell off the wall, you would trip tamper switches on the back of it. And it would still be connected to the building structure via the conduit. If you had the tools and could figure out how to cut the conduit, you'd discover that the bell had it's own battery and would keep on ringing anyway.

The cover on the inner box had about 12 very long screws holding it in place. You had to remove all of them to get to the inside of the inner box and finally be able to disconnect the battery.

These bells were very, very loud. I had a couple of service calls where the alarm had gone off but we were unable to contact the business owners. The police would insist that the alarm company disable the UL bell because neighbors were complaining. So I had the job of disabling the bell. I kept ear protectors in my truck, but they weren't adequate. Up on the ladder, you are very close to the bell. I had a headache each time. My best time was about 30 minutes to quiet one of these beasts. In one case, there were neighbors down below yelling at me. I have no idea what they were saying. Just as well.

My boss told me about a time some would-be thieves decided to disable one of these bells on a jewelry store before breaking in. Their plan was to use their vehicle to pull it off the wall. Of course, they set it off right away, but had to make several more runs at it because of the conduit, which was sort of stretchy. Eventually they got it onto the ground, but it was still ringing. I doubt they had brought ear protectors. They worked it over pretty good, but couldn't get inside to make it stop ringing. So, in desperation, they threw it in their vehicle and took off. On their way from the scene, they drove past a police car responding to the alarm. The cops could easily hear the bell as they went by and pursued them. The bell was still ringing long after they were taken into custody.

Shortly after I left that job, I was still getting trade literature and I noticed that some company was offering an electrically triggered tear gas dispenser. They touted this for businesses that were probably a long way from police response. I thought it would make the perfect addition to the UL bell. Imagine it spraying tear gas at you as you are trying to make it shut up.

If the protected property has a few very annoying surprises in store for the would-be thieves, the distraction may be enough protection if help is on the way. It is especially powerful if the distractions are "mobile" and go with the property being taken.
 

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A burglar hit my friends Dollar General store. He took a piece of carpet and a 5 lb sledge hammer and knocked a hole in the concrete block wall directly into the utlity room which is easy to identify because of the electric meter on the building. Once in side the utility room, even though the door to the utility room was alarmed, since he came through the concrete wall, he was able to spend the time to disable the alarm system which was also had it's panel in the utility room.

He didn't even bother to disable or steal the video system, he just interrupted it's link to the cloud, so none of his activities were seen live. He left the DVR in the store as he was wearing a mask. He was in the store well over an hour, he hit the cash drawers, he even took his time and hit the ATM machine by disassembling whatever he needed to in order to bypass the alarms. In fact, he spent about 40 minutes of the 75 minutes he was in the store carefully working the ATM machine. He emptied it.

He then hit the store safe and cracked it. As he was leaving, one of the cameras caught him taking a Gatorade bottle out of the cooler as he want back out the hole he had created. they never even knew the store had been hit until the opened the door the next morning and noticed the alarm wasn't beeping to be turned off. Once they got into the store, then they found the ATM emptied, the cash drawers all emptied and the safe open and empty.

Police looked around the 80 acre field behind the store and brought in a tracking dog and they located the Gatorade bottle almost to the road nearly 1/3rd of a mile away. They sent the bottle to the lab and sure enough, it had his DNA on the bottle and that's how they caught him. He had hit dozens of these rural small town store locations in Ohio, Indiana, Michigan and Pennsylvania. They ran the guys criminal history and he had done two previous "tours" in prison for breaking and entering and burglary.

He lived about central Indiana and when the police showed up at his door, he couldn't even remember the town where the store was which got him caught. The local police went down with the arrest warrant and they said he didn't even act surprised when they were at his front door. He is gone now and apparently despite the Michigan charges, other states are still pursing cases against him as he has had to travel from the local jail to other states for hearings. He did work the system hard to remain in local jail verses being sent up to Prison right away as the sentence means he goes to the worst of the worst prisons in the state.

In Michigan, Safe Cracking is a mandatory LIFE SENTENCE.......Yep, the law dates back to around 1913 if I recall and someone in the state Legislature must have really been ripped off one time as they made safe cracking a LIFE SENTENCE and it remains that way to this day..........for a "non violent" crime, its one of the few that will get you automatic life in prison in Michigan.

Felony possession of burglary tools is another 10 years as is breaking and entering. If the residence is occupied when the break in occurs, the penalties escalate quickly. But with the life sentence for the safe cracking the other stuff are merely charges served concurrently.

You want to see something that's also interesting, look at the "charge codes" used in Michigan for any arrests. There are 4 pages of details. Everything from Treason and Sedition to Bestiality to Adulterating food........covers them all.................

https://www.michigan.gov/documents/MICRArrestCodes_June06_163082_7.pdf
 

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New patent on tear gas dispensing system for vehicles

I came across this article noting that Toyota has recently patented a tear gas dispensing system. It's part of a fragrance dispensing system that will be in their new vehicles. Good people get fragrance, bad people get tear gas. And we hope the car always knows the difference.

https://futurism.com/toyota-patent-cars-spray-thieves-tear-gas
 

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I guess I don’t understand WHY someone would think a freestanding drop box could be considered “theft proof”. I don’t care HOW secure you attach it to something - someone wanting to either get in or break it away, there’s a way...it just comes down to ingenuity and horsepower or a combination of both.

No matter how secure you make a freestanding box, a slot in a steel door is likely just as if not more “secure”. Again, fail proof, absolutely not - the right equipment or smarts will figure a way out.

The key is make it a “less desirable” target. Think of it like this - if your a thief and there’s a freestanding ATM inside of a convenience store nearby in front of a glass window and the store closes at 10pm or you got a steel box attached to a cement post that’s regularly emptied of payments and is unlikely to contain any significant amount of cash - what’s likely to yield more? Taxes are typically due 2 days of the year - want to avoid dropped payments- extend hours the day before and day due to ensure payments are accepted in person - or at least increase drop pickups those days.

ATMs are softer targets and they contain CASH, not checks the meth heads who typically break into these things have the technical ability to convert into cash. Sure - could someone be dumb enough to drop cash in a box...but it should be the exception and not the norm with typical protections.

These type of drop boxes are the norm in rural life for utility and insurance payments for example. Cameras only show you WHO did it - not stop them. Alarms give you notice - but again response time...5 minutes, 10 minutes - any more than that the typical thief could easily be 5 miles away and good luck searching 5 miles perimeter in under 2 hours with a local PD or sheriff. LIGHTING and witness’ are your best preventive measures.

Clear views and lots of people nearby will convince thieves to pick a better target for anything. All the other stuff helps, but bang for the buck these are the cheapest and best avoidance techniques. Nothing if “theft proof” ever - but thieves in general are lazy and unsophisticated - so the less of a target you make something, the less it is stolen by far.
 

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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.
When I worked for an electrical utility we put signs up telling people there were cameras, there weren't, but what one worker did was to put a 'camera' mounted high enough that it wasn't easily recognizeable, and which was made up of a piece of 2x4 painted black on a bracket with a jar top recessed into the 2x4 so that it looked like a lens. It worked for years.
There's lots of places that sell a fake 'camera'. It looks real but the only thing that works is a blinking red light someplace on the camera.
 
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