Big-Time Boxes: Maximum security toolbox

Owner: Robert McGullam

Dallas European Auto

Plano, TX


Technicians have been coming up with methods to secure their tools for years; everything from simple locks to chaining the boxes to the wall or floor. However, few have seen a toolbox that has taken advantage of security cameras, courtesy of its owner, Robert McGullam.

The toolbox is a Matco Tools Quad Bay, No. MB8545, including the work station hutch, upper horizontal locker and two additional side lockers. Purchased back in 2001, this box cost about $25,000 before financing.

Nicknamed “the school bus,” due to its yellow paint job, other technicians in the Mercedes dealership added a swinging stop sign and flashing lights to complete the look. In ode to the toolbox, McGullam earned the nickname, “Schoolbus Bob.”

This massive toolbox initially was one-of-a-kind in the shop, but the yellow behemoth initiated something of a “toolbox war.” “I believe it was the envy of the shop at the time,” McGullam recalls. “The dealership had 40 other techs, and one after another, (they) started buying huge toolboxes with side lockers.”

Like all wars, there were no winners, only losers. “The war came to a halt when Mercedes made the dealer remodel the shop and install a modular tool storage system for a more uniform look,” remembers McGullam. “Schoolbus Bob” and all his colleagues had to withdraw their forces and take their monster toolboxes home.

When McGullam took a job at an independent shop called “Autoscope,” the toolbox was called back for action. The shop had security equipment everywhere. This inspired McGullam to upgrade his toolbox’s arsenal.

So, he installed a CCTV camera system on his toolbox, using an eight-channel Swann Security System and ACER LED monitor standard with VGA and HDMI inputs. McGullum made camera mounts himself out of heavy duty gas pipes and with flanges, painted to match. He ran the wiring through the pipes to prevent tampering and make the set up more rugged.

Some of McGullam’s most important tools are out and about on his tool cart during the day. These include his Mercedes SDS scan tool, GM Tech2, Autel Maxidas and a laptop with Internet access, all of which he uses for troubleshooting problems.

With about $150,000 worth of tools in the box, McGullam believes the security system is well worth it: “This addition to my toolbox is my favorite part, because not only is it functional, but it shows clients that I take pride in what I do and that I extend that pride when I work on their vehicles.”