Calgary contractor uses AirTags to recover stolen construction materials
Pierre Dumont says material shortage has led to rash of thefts
A Calgary contractor, fed up with having his building materials stolen, used Apple AirTags to track down more than $10,000 worth of exterior house trim that was lifted from a job site this week.
Pierre Dumont, owner of Pierrefect Contracting Inc., said a shortage of building material has led to a rash of building material thefts in Calgary. He said it happened to him twice in a two-week period this summer.
"We don't get paid enough to supply the material twice," said Dumont. "It's hurting us quite bad."
Dumont decided to act. He bought several AirTags, hiding them among his packages of siding and trim. AirTags are small tracking devices that can connect to an iPhone or iPad and are intended to help find lost objects.
Dumont was on his way to work Wednesday when he opened his phone and noticed three of the tags were at a house near Falconridge — nowhere close to his current job site. He called his co-worker to meet him with a trailer at the address listed.
They first knocked on the wrong door, and were told by the person inside that a neighbour owned a siding company, Dumont said.
"We went there, then I pressed [the button] to locate my AirTag, and it was pointing right to the guy's backyard," said Dumont. "Then I just look over the fence: all my product."
Dumont recorded the incident and later posted the video to social media. He also called Calgary police.
The service confirmed to CBC News that officers were dispatched Wednesday morning to an address in Castleridge following a report of stolen property.
"Upon arrival, police spoke with a man who claimed to be the rightful owner, as well as a man who was believed to have transported the property to the residence," a spokesperson said in a statement.
Police have not said whether charges are pending or confirmed the names of the parties involved, citing the ongoing investigation.
Asked to weigh in on Dumont's strategy of using AirTags to track down stolen items, Calgary police declined to comment but encouraged people to keep documentation, such as photos and serial numbers, of their possessions and to report thefts to police.
CBC Calgary reached out by phone, email and social media to the company that was alleged to have taken the trim but did not get a response Thursday.
As for Dumont, he said he took the material back to his job site Wednesday. He plans to continue using the AirTags to keep track of his building materials and valuables.
He also urged anyone using contractors to do their research and make sure they're using a reputable company.
"There's some bad contractors that just decide to steal products instead of buying it," he said.
"Just be careful who you hire."