FreightWatch: Cargo of clothing items stolen, recovered in Florida

By Greg Grisolano, Land Line staff writer | 1/22/2014

Police were able to use a covert GPS tracker to locate a stolen tractor trailer full of clothing items, according to a report from FreightWatch International.

At 7:30 p.m. on Monday, Jan. 20, a tractor trailer was stolen from a truck stop off Interstate 95 in St. Augustine, Fla., after the driver stopped briefly to use the restroom, leaving the truck unattended.

The cargo contained a FreightWatch covert GPS tracking device, which was immediately engaged. Locations reported from the device were provided to the Florida Highway Patrol, enabling them to execute a full recovery of the cargo within one hour of it being reported.

The cargo was recovered approximately 30 miles from the theft site in Palatka, Fla. It was abandoned “possibly due to the thieves monitoring the police frequencies,” the report stated.

OOIDA security director Doug Morris said the incident is a good reminder that drivers should “never leave your engine running unless you or someone is with your vehicle.”

“If you have GPS tracking technology within your vehicle, notify the provider immediately (after a theft) and advise law enforcement of any anti-theft devices that you utilize,” Morris said. “If you can afford it, everyone should have GPS technology in their vehicle and if not, they should use some form of anti-theft device such as kingpin locks, steering wheel locks, etc.”

FreightWatch, which specializes in tracking supply chain information and cargo thefts around the globe, recommends that covert GPS tracking be used as part of a layered security program. The company also tracks cargo theft data in the U.S. and Mexico, and publishes that data quarterly.

According to FreightWatch:

  • Florida experienced the second-highest rate of thefts in 2013, at 14 percent of the total.
  • Clothing/shoes had an average loss value of $340,501 in 2013. 
  • More than 85 percent of full trailer load thefts in 2013 were thefts of unattended rigs, with more than half of those occurring at unsecured locations such as truck stops and rest areas.
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