It’s horrible to think that this world contains bad people, who are looking for any open opportunity to take advantage of good people. On Sunday morning of 6/18/17, the owner of Annie’s Ice Cream Shack of East Freetown, MA along with her daughter, discovered that something was missing from their family-run business. One of their biggest wooden picnic tables, that was made by another family member, had been stolen. Surveillance video captured two men loading the heavy table into the back of a white pickup truck before taking off at 3 am the previous morning. The Freetown Police Department took the surveillance video to social media, where within a day reached more than 23,000 viewers. Thankfully by Tuesday, the picnic table reappeared upside down in the property’s parking lot. It's unclear whether the fear of being caught or a case of a guilty conscience inspired the perpetrators to return the wooden picnic table, but the video from the on-site camera along with the news post on Facebook seems to have played a huge role.
This may sound like a happy ending to a tragic tale, however, the incident has left the family of Annie’s Ice Cream Shack feeling nervous and vulnerable. Though their picnic table was returned, the thieves were never caught and the investigation remains ongoing. In addition, this crime may attract other copycat crooks hoping to get away with more property left out in the open. That morning, a family owned ice cream parlor became a victim, but this could happen to any establishment at any time. Whether it be a school, state or local park, or an outdoor restaurant, it is best to prepare for the worst, while protecting valuable investments. There may not be a way to stop people from stealing, however, there are precautions that can be taken to discourage thieves from trying.
Mounts For Portable Metal Picnic Table Frame
If the business is already furnished with portable picnic tables with metal frame, there are some accessories available to anchor them down effectively for little cost. The In-Ground Post and Surface Mount Clamp are perfect solutions to securing these table types, by looping the clamp over the frame and fastening into the post or concrete surface with heavy-duty hardware. This requires no frame drilling that would otherwise compromise the integrity of the metal and protectant coating. Determined thieves can unfasten the tightened metal hardware to release the picnic table, but this would take crucial time and look extremely suspicious.
Surface Mount Picnic Tables
Those who are in the market for picnic tables may choose a frame with a surface mount option to prevent theft. Surface mounts allow the table legs or frame to be bolted to a concrete slab or a wooden deck using heavy-duty hardware, creating a semi-permanent placement. Like the in-ground post and surface mount clamp, thieve can unfasten the hardware, but not as fast and easy. There are also surface mount covers available that stylishly conceal the hardware. This may cause confusion to some thieves on how to remove the table from the grounds.
Inground Mount Picnic Tables
When in the market to buy new picnic tables for anti-theft purposes, one of the best option available is a frame with an inground mount. Inground mounts have extended metal frames that can be inserted nearly two feet deep into holes in the ground and secured with concrete. This may require additional work, but it’s a more permanent solution and is cost-efficient. Crooks would have to uproot the planted table and lift it with the added weight of the concrete feet. Once again, this causes more hassle than it’s worth and they are more than likely going to take their business elsewhere.
Concrete Picnic Tables
Another great option to protect your picnic table investment is to purchase concrete picnic tables. These heavyweight tables can be quite expensive, but will last forever and are the least appealing targets to crooks. With a weight that commonly exceeds 800 lbs., it's next to impossible to heave a concrete table in the back of a truck or on a trailer. It typically takes a team of people or special equipment to reposition one table onsite. Thieves prefer to snatch things that they can easily get away with, without the use of many efforts, resources, or time.
As demonstrated in the story, the property’s outdoor surveillance cameras caught the thieves in the act, giving a ground-breaking lead for the Police department to follow. Criminals prefer not to be seen or heard while causing mischief, so they tend to avoid areas that would watch their every move.
Picnic tables that are completely made of wood are always portable, making them easy targets for theft. There is no effective ground mounting option for the legs of these type of picnic tables, however, chaining maybe a cost-efficient solution for a business with very few tables. By installing a heavy-duty pole, ground anchor, or post in the ground or by using a nearby tree, you can easily secure the portable picnic table by chaining it to prohibit movement. This may not look glamorous, but it will deter some thieves from easily running off with your property. Cunning criminals will come prepared with bolt cutters to cut the chain, taking the table anyway without hassle, so this tactic is not as effective as others.
Gates and Fencing
Though an all wooden picnic table can weigh 200 lbs. or more, multiple people can easily pick it up and take it away in a matter of seconds. If your business predominantly has tables that can’t be mounted to the ground, it may be a good idea to install a gate or fence to surround your outdoor social or dining area. This creates an additional obstacle that results in more work and less time for the perps to get away. They will most likely choose a target that is much easier to access.
There may not be a 100% way to protect your picnic table investment, but one or a combination of a few of these methods will make the bad guys feel daunted. Defend your business and yourself from becoming a victim of theft.
If you have any questions or need assistance in choosing the best anti-theft commercial picnic table for your site, please feel free to write in the comments below or give us a call at 1-800-775-8409.