Don’t Underestimate Cargo Thieves


Gary Frantz at Transport Topics released an article covering cargo theft and the smarts of the thieves themselves.  It is important to understand the tricks that some thieves may use, and to stay up to date with any new developments on cargo theft.  Here is a summary of the article he wrote:

In his article, Frantz covers an interview done with Detective Gerardo A. Pachuca who works for the LA County Sheriff’s Department.  Detective Pachuca specializes in cargo theft; catching the thieves and figuring out their tactics. Los Angeles County experiences some of the highest rates of cargo theft around the country, so he is very experienced.   

One red flag that may lead to a higher likelihood of cargo theft are loads that had been “double brokered”--this means that the freight was initially in the hands of a legitimate carrier company, but then was passed to an “independent owner-operator” when the first company became too busy.  

Because these independent owner-operators may be more lax on following strict security protocols and taking the proper cargo safety measures necessary, this puts the product at much higher risk of being stolen. One example of this could be simply leaving the freight in a parking lot that is unattended for long periods of time.  Pachuca lists this as one of the reasons that cargo thieves will be drawn to cargo handled by owner-operators.

An interesting point made by Pachuca is that many cargo thieves are individuals who have previously worked in the transportation industry, whether they were on the ground in a warehouse setting or even driving a truck in a fleet.  

These individuals know the flaws in rigs and supply chains, and can use this to their advantage in order to steal freight as swiftly as possible. It is also important to note that just because your product is safe at a location at one point, does not mean it will be safe there on out in the future.  Cargo thieves may bide their time, waiting for you to relax safety protocols, and then they will strike.

The best thing you can do to protect your cargo, according to Detective Pachuca, is to stay informed, communicate with your supply chain, and keep up to date on safety protocols.  Cargo theft can happen to anyone, anytime, so stay aware of your surroundings and do everything in your power to protect your products.

Check out Frantz’s full article for more information: