In a mere six hours, construction manager Dean Powers lost and got back more than $100,000 worth of stolen tools. 

This didn’t happen by chance or blind luck. A report in the local news credited the police’s speedy resolution of the massive theft to “a tracking device embedded into the high-end tools.”

That “tracking device,” of course, was ONE-KEY™.

But we’re getting ahead of ourselves. Let’s start at the beginning.

Powers is the owner and manager of a construction company in British Columbia, Canada (worried about the possibility of future theft attempts, he requested that the precise name and location of his business remain undisclosed).

When he isn’t at work, Powers enjoys weekend classic-cinema marathons at home with his wife, watching everything from Buster Keaton to Billy Wilder films. Lately, they’ve been on a Joan Crawford kick—the film noir Mildred Pierce (1945) and docudrama Mommie Dearest (1981) are two of their recent favorites.

Powers’ specialty for the last 10 years has been modular construction and building renovations.

“I’ve done a lot of things,” he said when asked about his career. “I actually have an accounting degree…but I always come back to construction.”

Powers was hundreds of miles away from home on a business trip in Calgary this past spring when he woke one morning to find a voicemail on his phone. It was the police.

A truck had been spotted careening down the road with a bunch of Milwaukee Tools flying off the back, the voice on the other end explained.

A brief aside: Powers is an enormous Milwaukee® fan.

“Everyone teases me and calls me a Milwaukee rep,” he said.

Back to our story: The police had successfully chased down the truck, the voicemail continued. The driver bailed, and the tools—many of which had Powers’ name engraved on their frames—had been safely recovered.

“Out of morbid curiosity, I opened up the One-Key app,” Powers said. “And lo and behold ‘ding!’ It was right there.”

But Powers’ relief at the good news was short-lived as his mind drifted to the trailer in his work yard. The tools recovered from the truck was a large haul, but it was only a fraction of his total inventory. The trailer on contained everything from drills, impact drivers, grinders, chop saws, and table saws to a whole galaxy of hand tools—along with roughly $20,000 worth of RED LITHIUM™ batteries.

“Pretty much any tool known to mankind,” Powers said.

What if a second thief had stolen his trailer while the police were busy chasing down the truck?

Powers quickly got on the phone with a colleague and asked them to go check the company yard to see if there was anything else missing. The word came back. The gate and lock of the work yard had been broken.

The trailer was gone.

His heart sinking, Powers called the police back and explained the situation. As an afterthought, he asked if the officers had found a miter saw among the tools retrieved from the abandoned getaway truck. They had not, they told him.

This was no ordinary miter saw. It was a 12-inch M18 FUEL™ Dual Bevel Sliding Compound Miter Saw by Milwaukee. And it came with a unique feature: an onboard Bluetooth® tracking capability called One-Key.

“Out of morbid curiosity, I opened up the One-Key app,” Powers said. “And lo and behold ‘ding!’ It was right there.”

Still on the phone with the police, Powers quickly explained One-Key to the officer on the other end: A free-to-use app for construction and trade professionals, One-Key allows users to customize and manage entire inventories of tools from their mobile devices. Most importantly, each of Milwaukee’s ever-expanding line of One-Key products comes embedded with Bluetooth tracking technology, allowing users to pinpoint the precise locations of their One-Key power tools.

Powers was hundreds of miles away from where his miter saw and dozens of other tools of his had been stolen. But in that moment, thanks to One-Key, it was no longer missing. Staring dumbfounded at the screen of his phone, he could now see exactly where it was.

“It was literally 25 blocks from our yard, where they stole it from,” Powers said.

The miter saw must have pinged off his colleague's phone, or off someone else in the area who had the One-Key app installed.

The police converged on the spot. Sure enough, Powers’ trailer was there, its location bullseyed by the One-Key miter saw pinging away inside.

“Right to the parking stall—that’s how accurate One-Key was,” Powers said.

With all of his tools safely recovered, Powers continues to use One-Key’s many other inventory management and customization features to this day.

“The only thing negative I can say about One-Key is that it should be in every single Milwaukee product,” Powers said.

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