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Toth says cargo thieves range from petty crooks to those who hijack trucks at gunpoint.

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Inbound Logistics

Cargo's Bad Boys: Whatcha' Gonna Do?

By Marcia Jedd, Minneapolis

According to the Technology Asset Protection Association (TAPA), 60 percent of thefts of high-tech products take place when the products are being transported.

Cheap consumer products, including paper towels, are often sold to small, independently-owned stores or at close-out outlets, while expensive electronics are usually fenced and sent to foreign countries.

Thieves tend to hit commercial TL-carrier trucks the most of any transport mode, says American Trucking Associations (ATA) loss-prevention chief Gail Toth. Toth adds that "drop trailers are stolen or broken into at truck stops, industrial sites, and malls." The concentration on TL carriers is attributed to long hauls, frequent stops, and dropping trailers at yards.

Air freight is more vulnerable to organized criminals, while railroad freight is often hit when trains are standing still.

Toth says cargo thieves range from petty crooks to those who hijack trucks at gunpoint.

The Technology Theft Prevention Foundation recently told Congress that organized crime is involved in about 40 percent of U.S. stolen cargo. Sometimes, drivers and other trucking-industry employees are involved in theft, and some U.S. truckers and carriers are in cahoots with foreign thieves who steal cargo at border transfer sites.

The southern portions of California and Florida are hotbeds for cargo crime.

The official FBI/insurance estimate of annual cargo crime costs is at least $10 billion, but many companies do not report cargo theft for fear of upset customers and pricey insurance costs.

Toth recommends telling the FBI if a truck is hijacked or the stolen cargo is worth more than $50,000. Tips for cutting truck theft include: facilities demanding to see truckers' papers before issuing passes; shippers choosing carriers with good security; and making truckers report theft as soon as it happens.

Source: Inbound Logistics (07/99) Vol. 19, No. 7; P. 84; Jedd, Marcia
© Copyright 1999 INFORMATION, INC.