With thousands leaving the Lone Star State to head home, Austin’s SXSW 2014 has officially come to a close. The instruments are packed away, the interactive booths are gone and one group of Florida students looking to showcase their entrepreneurial spirit are going home nearly empty-handed after a robber snatched $30,000 worth of equipment from the home they were renting during the annual festival. Perhaps the most tragic part of this crime is that it could have been easily prevented with proper home alarm monitoring.

Tampa Techies Robbed At SXSW

alarm monitoring

ABC Action News in Tampa Bay has the story of 11 Florida-based students who were working with StartupBus – an organization founded on “building an entrepreneurial ecosystem through unique experiences and inspirational connections.” The students were tasked with cramming onto a bus and creating a viable business start-up within 72 hours for the Interactive portion of SXSW. After arriving in Austin, having already worked on their ideas for days, the group setup camp at the South Austin home that they rented.

When they returned to their rental home later, the place had been ransacked.  StartupBus director Mitch Neff told ABC  that “drawers were emptied” and “stuff was laying everywhere.” Laptops, tablets, phones – all in all, $30,000 worth of technology and equipment had been stolen from the Austin house. Along with the precious equipment, “novels” of unused code for the competition had been stolen as well. More than 115,000 lines of code for potential start-up projects were now gone. What started out as a dream come true had now become a nightmare for these students. Luckily, SXSW was prepared to help.

Microsoft Saves The Day

After notifying the Austin authorities, the StartupBus group took to Twitter for help. Luckily for them, Microsoft executives were on the lookout for the worst problems at SXSW this year to potentially solve, and soon found the group’s tweets. They sprung into action, making a website for the group and starting the hashtag “#helpflorida” to spread awareness of their plight.

If that weren’t enough, the Vine embedded above shows the happy group of students receiving new smartphones, tablets and laptops from Microsoft. To go from such misfortune to receiving an amazing gift completely changed the students’ outlook. As Neff put it, “You’ve never seen a room go from completely sullen to completely ecstatic so fast in your life.”

New technology and charitable donations helped this group of students recover the value of their stolen goods, but the burglars remain at large and their novels of code have yet to be found.

Preventing Disaster With Alarm Monitoring

At Protect America, we believe that it is vital that renters protect their properties. Home alarm monitoring could have easily prevented this disaster and allowed these bright entrepreneurs to keep their hard work. Should the burglars have attempted to force open a door or window, an alarm would have triggered and a signal would have been sent to the owner’s smartphone to let them know that there was a disturbance at their property. The police would have been notified as well, and they could have stopped the robbery if the alarm didn’t scare the robbers away already.

Having a system in place that will automatically contact the authorities, sound a powerful alarm, and reach out to you via interactive technology is your best bet every time. We hope that the owners of the property in this story learned that charity will not always come to the rescue. Burglary can strike at anytime, whether you are on vacation or renting out your home. Be prepared and arm your home with proper alarm monitoring.

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cover photo courtesy of Wikipedia Commons