Gov. Chris Christie signed a bill into law to stiffen punishment for truck cargo thieves.
New Jersey law classifies truck theft as a property crime, which often doesn’t result in jail time. Effective immediately, the new rule includes truck theft as a criminal offense, which does include incarceration.
Assemblywoman Caroline Casagrande, R-Monmouth, said the amount of cargo that’s transported through New Jersey ports makes motor carriers a target for cargo theft rings.
She referred to figures that show thieves in the Garden State steal as much as $1 billion worth of cargo annually.
“Cracking down on cargo theft will make our roads safer for truckers and help our economy because these crimes drive up the prices for just about every good sold in our state,” Casagrande said in a news release.
Previously S2092, the new law specifies that anyone who leads or organizes a cargo theft network could face $500,000 in fines, or five times the retail value of the property seized at the time of arrest.
Criminal offenses already carry the possibility of five to 10 years in prison.
In addition, the new rule specifies criminal charges for operating facilities used for storage or resale of stolen cargo.
“Cargo theft is a very serious and costly crime that puts lives at risk and deals a devastating blow to the economy by increasing the price of clothing, food, pharmaceuticals and just about any product delivered by truck,” stated Assemblyman David Rible, R-Monmouth.
OOIDA Director of Security Operations Doug Morris said the stiffer punishment is a step in the right direction to help protect truck drivers and their property. He also said that providing truckers with safe places to park is needed to address this issue.
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