Cargo thieves devious; recovery rate low, newspaper reports

| 11/4/2003

California officials and the trucking industry are losing the battle against cargo theft, The Sacramento Bee reported recently.

Sgt. Marc Gomez of the California Highway Patrol told the newspaper that while the number of thefts is rising, the amount of merchandise that is recovered is low – despite new techniques and technology to fight the thefts.

"This is a very difficult fight," Gomez said. "We have a very small window to catch these thieves before they unload the trailer, and too many of these thefts get reported too late.”

Police have a 50-50 chance of recovering freight lost in a theft if it is reported right away. However, he told The Bee, early reporting is rare.

“These are not small-time crooks,” he said. “They are very sophisticated crime organizations that have the technology, the manpower, the experience and the patience to do this."

Of the 561 cases of cargo theft reported to the California Highway Patrol in Northern California in 2002, for example, only 28 full trucks and 55 trailers were ever recovered.

"I think cargo theft is a big fear for most trucking companies because not only are you losing cargo, but it also makes you look bad to companies and they might not want to use your business if you're not secure," Louis Stewart of Freight Solutions Providers said. "That's why security is a huge priority for us and for most other trucking companies."