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BoomerangIt

Local company can help find lost equipment.

If you’ve ever lost a PDA or a cell phone, you know how much you can lose–addresses, phone numbers, etc.–over and above the device itself. BoomerangIt is trying to become a nationwide lost and found. Eddie Orton, the CEO and founder of BoomerangIt, described how lost items can come back to you.

When did you start BoomerangIt?

I purchased the National Bike Registry division in 1999. We quickly expanded the bike registry to cover everything else–PDAs, cell phones, laptops, luggage, etc.–and thus created BoomerangIt. We launched that software in 2002.

What led you to believe that BoomerangIt would be both successful and workable?

Mobile products are becoming indispensable in our day-to-day lives. And the data they keep is often irreplaceable. They have maximum value to their current owner. With the Internet, there became no reason why people couldn’t get their recovered lost and stolen items back efficiently and anonymously.

BoomerangIt also helps businesses keep track of their equipment, assets and inventory. In fact, asset tracking software has been one of the fastest growing segments of the software business in the last few years.

BoomerangIt obviously requires hefty participation–from law enforcement and from the people who find lost items. Is that participation happening?

That participation is happening. National Bike Registry gave us the introduction to law enforcement, and we have thousands of participating departments nationwide.

We also have the approval of the National Crime Prevention and the California Union of Safety Employees. We have excellent participation from law enforcement, professional lost and founds (such as airlines, hotels and restaurants), and from Good Samaritans.

How many lost items have you restored to their owners?

We’re recovering items to their owners virtually every day–bikes, PDAs, keys, etc. We’re recovering about a bike a week. Just last week, one of our frequent users of the NBR database, Officer John Mattes of the Belmont, Calif., Police Department, matched a recovered cell phone to its owner using BoomerangIt. So the BoomerangIt recoveries are beginning to trickle in.

How many employees work for BoomerangIt? Do they use the service?

We have 11 full-time employees. They all use the system. It’s too easy not to. And you feel too much remorse if you lost somethingÑand for what little BoomerangIt costsÑyou hadn’t done what it takes to get it back.

What is the most common item that people register with BoomerangIt?

Palm Pilots and Toshiba digital cameras. The strangest so far is probably a prosthetic leg.

How many people are currently using the BoomerangIt service?

Between NBR and BoomerangIt, we have about 150,000 members, and it’s growing every day. In addition, thousands of police departments tap in to our system to help match recovered property and return them to their original owners.

Is there anything else about BoomerangIt that we should knowÑfuture plans, etc.?

This summer and fall, look for free trial use of the BoomerangIt service on many new products, including Toshiba digital cameras, Palm handhelds and accessories, Pioneer car stereos, Memorex audio and video products, and Tasco binoculars as well as luggage and bags from London Fog, Eagle Creek, and High Sierra.

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