Physical Security: Thieves Dig for Water Equipment

Monday, February 21, 2011 @ 03:02 PM gHale

Cyber security is a key element for manufacturers to protect against computer-oriented thieves, but no one can over emphasize the importance of physical security.

Take the Hamilton City Council’s water treatment plant in Hamilton, New Zealand. Thieves dug a tunnel under concrete to steal tens of thousands of dollars worth of equipment from the water treatment plant, said City Deployment Manager, Inspector Karen Henrikson.

Thieves cut through a neighboring fence and dug a tunnel under concrete to bypass an electrified security fence as they broke into the plant to steal 10 bronze water pump impellers.

“I’m not going to go into other security arrangements in place at the plant other than to say they were more than adequate. This appears to have been a professional burglary that was well planned,” Henrikson said.

The thieves made off with two larger impellers, valued at $60-80,000, as well as three medium and five smaller devices and the castings.

Henrikson said the water pump impellers were very distinctive and only saw use in specific pumps operated by the Hamilton City Council.

“To that end we’re not ruling out the items may have been stolen for scrap metal value so we are liaising with scrap metal dealers not only in Hamilton but across the country.
Hamilton City Council general manager works and services, Chris Allen, said they will have to do a security review.

“We’re very disappointed with this theft and will be reviewing the plant security arrangements to see if we can make some improvements,” he said.