Stop, Thief!

By Heather Baldwin

You’ve just returned from a great lunch with your prospect and you’re about to give a presentation you know will be flawless. You walk into the conference room, open up your laptop, connect it to the – wait a minute. Where’s the projector? Gone. Add your name to the growing list of projector users whose units are disappearing to someone’s home theater or to eBay where they can make a dishonest employee a quick couple thousand bucks.

“Projectors became a real thief magnet when they became portable and their video display performance became as good as big screen TVs,” says James Chan, director of product marketing for Mitsubishi Digital Electronics America. The problem, he explains, is that while many companies consider projectors a major investment, too many fail to assign responsibility for them to individuals. Instead, they’re usually given to a group and “not many people give particular attention to a piece of equipment unless they are the owners of the equipment,” Chan says. “It’s just human nature.”

So how can you protect your multi-thousand dollar investment? Besides assigning responsibility to individuals instead of groups, start by ensuring the projector you purchase has antitheft capabilities, which you can find on many of the newer models from major manufacturers. Mitsubishi, for example, just rolled out a line of security-equipped products that include theft-deterrents, such as motion-sensitive antitheft alarms. Next, take advantage of the logo screen available on many popular projectors. Once programmed, this logo screen will display your company logo at startup, in the absence of a signal feed and when video is muted. “Not only is this a subtle way of reinforcing your brand, it’s also a mild theft deterrent because it will expose the source of the projector when it is powered on,” says Chan.

Chan also recommends ensuring your projector manufacturer has a record of your projector’s serial number. That simple act enabled a major east coast bank to recover one of its portable units after a would-be buyer saw the projector listed on an online auction house and called Mitsubishi to inquire about the warranty. When Mitsubishi ran the serial number to answer the warranty question, it discovered the projector had been purchased by the bank, which was unlikely to be reselling it online. After a few phone calls and cooperation from the auction site, the projector was returned to the bank.

Finally, Chan suggests that when shipping your projector instead of carrying it to your sales call that you remember to insure it for its full replacement value. “Couriers usually compensate only to a maximum of $100 for lost shipments without insurance,” says Chan, who learned that lesson the hard way when a multi-thousand dollar projector he shipped never made it to its destination and the shipping company gave him just $100 in compensation. “Use a sturdy carrying case with adequate foam protection inside, lock it up and make sure the case doesn’t indicate what equipment it contains.”

For more information on Mitsubishi’s antitheft projectors, visit