A truck carrying a chemical
that could be used as an ingredient in explosives is missing, ABC News reported
over the weekend, but officials don’t think the theft was connected to
any terrorist activity.
which was carrying 44,000 pounds of boric acid, was stolen from a commercial
district in Riverside County, CA, in the southeast part of the Los Angeles
metropolitan area, The Associated Press reported. It was headed
to the Long Beach Shipyard.
Corona Police Sgt. Jon
Stofila told The AP the green, 1996 Freightliner had California
license plates on the tractor and Oregon plates on the trailer.
The chemical can be
used as an antiseptic, as an eyewash, a coolant – and as an ingredient
Land Line reported
in December that truck hijackings have risen steadily over the past five
years in Southern California. The region is popular to thieves because
of the number of ports, interstate highways and warehouses.
The activity is big
business nationally as well. Nationwide, cargo thieves will steal an estimated
$12 billion to $20 billion in goods this year.
Police say cargo theft
is on the rise because more money can be made in stolen cargo, and the
penalties are much lighter than in drug crimes. A cargo thief who steals
a truckload of computers with $1 million in merchandise inside may face
three or four years behind bars, while a drug trafficker caught with $1
million worth of dope could go away for 10 to 20 years.
The majority of cargo
thefts are simple jobs where one or two thieves will hijack or steal a
truck, sometimes without even knowing what’s inside.