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Thief strikes Linear's trade show booth. Was it personal?

What if the trade show started and most of your booth was missing? That's what happened to Linear Mold & Engineering (Livonia, MI), a designer and manufacturer of injection molds that also specializes in metal 3D printing, which has become big business for the company. Yesterday morning (May 19), when the Linear team went to the trade show floor of the RAPID 2015 exposition and conference in Long Beach, CA, they were dismayed to find that someone had made off with most of their booth.

Clare Goldsberry

May 20, 2015

3 Min Read
Thief strikes Linear's trade show booth. Was it personal?

Their booth had been robbed of its signage; the backdrop was removed from its framework; and all the sample metal 3D parts were gone, along with the company's brochures and other information. The fact that the thief or thieves left the computer and screen sitting on the table next to where the parts had been gave Linear's team the clue that this was personal.



The Linear Mold & Engineering booth before and
after the robbery.

It was obvious, since only things of value to Linear and its trade show presence were taken, that the thief or thieves were out to prevent Linear's success at the biggest 3D printing/additive manufacturing show in North America. Nothing the thief took could be sold on the streets of Long Beach. Yes, this was personal, and aimed at ruining Linear's experience at RAPID. It was likely someone who had a bone to pick with Linear.

Linear has risen to the top rather quickly, but its success came through a lot of hard work, sales and marketing efforts, and the expertise the company has developed in metal 3D printing. It took hard work, a huge investment, and the vision and strategic planning of President and owner John Tenbusch and his great team of talented people to make Linear the success that it is today.

Could it have been professional jealousy that caused someone to steal Linear's booth? Did this person really believe that, by stealing most of Linear's booth, he or she or they were going make Linear less of a company? Or that show attendees would pay less attention to Linear? If that was the case, it didn't work. Everyone coming to the show that morning saw convention center security people and Long Beach police officers interviewing Linear's team, taking down information about the stolen items and their value. That was enough to draw a whole lot of people to Linear's booth, curious about the theft.

The police will be looking at video footage taken at all the entrances and exits to the trade show floor to see if they can get a good picture of the thief or thieves. They might even find out who it was. I certainly hope it wasn't someone in the industry, because that would be a real shame.

I've always said that if the only way you can sell your own company's capabilities and expertise is by slamming the competition, then you don't really have much to sell and you probably deserve to go out of business. It's competition that helps make us good! Or to turn a "good" company into a great one!

While the moldmaking community detested the Chinese moldmakers, it was that competition that has made the industry in the USA much better, more technological, and pushed it to reduce lead times and costs.

Linear got more attention at this year's RAPID than it could have ever imagined, thanks to a not-very-bright thief. And, as they say in the biz, the show must—and will—go on!

About the Author(s)

Clare Goldsberry

Until she retired in September 2021, Clare Goldsberry reported on the plastics industry for more than 30 years. In addition to the 10,000+ articles she has written, by her own estimation, she is the author of several books, including The Business of Injection Molding: How to succeed as a custom molder and Purchasing Injection Molds: A buyers guide. Goldsberry is a member of the Plastics Pioneers Association. She reflected on her long career in "Time to Say Good-Bye."

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