Truck missing after brazen rig-jacking in California

| 3/5/2009

A California trucker is alive but shaken after three men in two separate trucks ran him off the road, then tied him up and stole his tractor-trailer. It happened early Wednesday morning, March 4, on the San Gabriel River Parkway – or 605 Freeway -- in Whittier.

Santos Argueta, who drives for RP Trucking of Compton, was northbound, hauling a container loaded with $55,000 worth of energy-efficient light bulbs.

California Highway Patrol officer Al Perez said that around 1 a.m. another tractor-trailer pulled alongside Argueta and tried to force him onto the shoulder. Then a bobtail pulled in front of Argueta and slowed to a stop.

“Mr. Argueta was boxed in and forced over to the right shoulder,” Perez told Land Line Now on Sirius XM. “Once he was pulled over and stopped, three suspects got out of the trucks, contacted the victim and pulled him out of his truck. They tied him at the ankles with a plastic tie-down and threatened him that if he did anything, he would be seriously hurt.”

Argueta wasn’t hurt but couldn’t get free from his ankle binding. Passersby called 9-1-1 to report a man limping along the side of the highway.

His tractor was found several hours later only a mile away from the scene. But his load, a green container with the markings “China Shipping,” is still missing.

Police are looking for three Hispanic males in their late teens to early 20s. Their trucks are described only as a white bobtail and a red semi pulling a white trailer.

Police are hoping drivers saw the three truckers pulled over early Wednesday morning and might have helpful information. Anyone who does is asked to call 800-TELL-CHP.

 – By Reed Black, staff writer