Just as we do before most holidays, Logistick passes along a message of caution to truck drivers working over the Holidays to be aware of increased risk for cargo theft. Reading these articles, it may occur to you to wonder whether anyone is doing anything to stop cargo theft before it actually happens. The answer is yes, and some of the tools of the trade might just look familiar.

There were 152 cargo thefts nationwide in July, August and September, a 24 percent drop from the same months last year, FreightWatch reported this month. But the average value per cargo theft, nearly $200,000, increased 7 percent from April, May and June.

sting trailer

A small door sits open on the back of a tractor-trailer parked at a truck stop in Willington, Conn. Investigators said cargo thieves can use small doors like this one to check inside truck trailers for valuable items. (Associated Press: DAVE COLLINS)

A sting trailer is a major piece of the puzzle for many investigators. It is a normal box trailer full of cargo sitting at a warehouse or a truck stop waiting to be stolen. On the surface, there is nothing to distinguish a sting trailer from any other trailer, and that is what investigators count on. When thieves strike, thinking they’ve hit the jackpot, they tap into a network of surveillance equipment hidden inside the load and the trailer itself.

“It’s like fishing,” said D.Z. Patterson, investigator, Travelers Cos. “You’ve got your worm in the water, but there are hundreds of other worms out there. They have to pick yours.”

Cargo theft has become a huge problem that the FBI says causes $15 billion to $30 billion in losses each year in the U.S. Law enforcement and the insurance industry are fighting back by tempting thieves with “sting trailers” laden with cameras and GPS tracking devices, hidden within both the trailers and the inventory they contain. With $100,000 worth of surveillance gear inside, it has helped the insurance company and law enforcement agencies break up major cargo theft rings.

“The primary purpose is to assist law enforcement in targeting organized cargo rings,” said Scott Cornell, theft investigator, Travelers. “Every time the sting trailer breaks up a ring … every trucking company or anyone in the supply chain that moves cargo in that area benefits. It has clearly reduced thefts in areas where there have been arrests.”

Earlier this year, the National Insurance Crime Bureau partnered with New Mexico state police to try to catch thieves working along Interstate 40 in Arizona, New Mexico and Oklahoma. They loaded up the Travelers trailer with Bose speakers and left it sitting in a vulnerable spot. Several days later, thieves raided the trailer, transferring the speakers into their own vehicle.

Since the cargo contained tracking devices, authorities were able to locate it in a storage center in Michigan. The operation led to the arrest of several suspects who had been looting trailers throughout the Southwest. In one suspect’s home, authorities discovered more than $1 million worth of stolen merchandise, including a $500,000 Ferrari.

Sting trailers also help experts understand what makes certain cargo more vulnerable to thieves. For instance, they have discovered that plain, unmarked trailers are more likely to be stolen than those with designs or brand names on the side. It has also been discovered that thieves use the small doors embedded in the main trailer doors to check what kind of load is inside.

Secure Your Freight

During this holiday season take the necessary precautions to protect yourself and your shipments. Logistick products not only protect you from falling freight and freight damage claims and but they will offer you an added protection from thieves. We offer a product to identify if a thief has tampered with your shipment. Security Seals combine with our Logipad®Wedge XL®  and Wedge International® for added security. Contact a representative to see how we can protect you from thieves and freight damage.

Source: The Trucker