Jun 8, 2016 | By Alec

The 3D printing market is continually growing in value and attracting a lot of attention, but not always from the right kind of people. Last Sunday, in the early hours of the morning, two robbers crashed into the Airwolf 3D warehouse in Costa Mesa, Southern California. Once inside, they stole a total of thirteen Axiom 3D printers, together worth over $60,000. Worst of all, the 3D printers were ready to be shipped to local schools, where they were intended to be used in a summer program designed to get kids interested in STEM.

Airwolf 3D, of course, is a successful 3D printer manufacturer that is known for supporting community events in Southern California. For Christmas 2014, they organized a 3D Print-a-Thon for prosthetic hands. Perhaps their growing reputation caught the eye of the criminals in question, who acted at the worst possible time. The thirteen 3D printers were ready to be shipped from the warehouse when the criminals broke in at approximately 6:00 AM on Sunday. Fortunately, no Airwolf 3D employees were hurt during the break-in.

While many robberies are done out of convenience, Airwolf 3D believes that this was a carefully organized and planned robbery. As footage from their surveillance system reveals (below), the suspects pulled up in a champagne-colored Ford Econoline van. Stopping briefly, they knew exactly where they had to be. Throwing the vehicle in reverse, they rammed into the door to gain access to the warehouse.

The security system further revealed two suspects, who are believed to be a man and a woman. The woman wore all black and had her face covered. The man, who drove, was seen jumping out of the van briefly, before climbing back in again. He wore a green camouflage battle dress, and what is believed to be a bulletproof vest. The vehicle used during the robbery sustained some damage on its rear bumper, and Airwolf 3D’s security team is currently working with local police to analyze the van’s license number and hopefully establish the suspects’ identities.

“Our chief concern is for the safety of our employees. We’re thankful no one was injured and we’ve taken actions to ensure their continued safety and the security of our facility,” said Eva Wolf, co- founder and CEO of Airwolf 3D.

She further argued that the worst part of this burglary is that the 3D printers were ready to be used in schools as part of a 3D printing school program designed to get kids excited about technology. “It has set us back a couple days, but the Airwolf family has pulled together to make sure these 3D printers get to the students who were meant to have them,” she added.

But these 3D printers are worth nothing without being sold, and that’s where the 3D printing community can play an important role in solving this crime. If you happen to come across an unauthorized sale of Airwolf 3D printers in Southern California or surrounding regions, the Airwolf team asks you to check the 3D printer’s serial number. If it matches any of these serial numbers listed on the Airwolf 3D website here, please contact them immediately.

Of course, also be sure to take a look at the video above. If you happen to have any info about the suspects or the vehicle they drove, please contact Airwolf 3D or the local authorities. Airwolf 3D can be contacted by emailing to info@airwolf3D.com or by calling them at (949) 478-2933. You can also leave anonymous tips here: Submit anonymous tip about Orange County 3D printer robbery.



Posted in 3D Printer



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