Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Special Alert: Group warns of increased cargo theft activity

The Pharmaceutical Cargo Security Coalition (PCSC), an industry trade group offering supply chain security intelligence and education, warns of a rash of recent high-value cargo thefts that have occurred in the mid-eastern part of the U.S.

Three of the thefts involved electronics shipments, which are prevalent now as the holiday season starts up this week. In all three of the electronic thefts there was a complete recovery, as each were actively being tracked using GPS technology. In each case the victim, the trucking firm, the GPS service provider, and law enforcement all worked in concert to recover the loads.

According to PCSC officials what is important to take note is where these occurred and the methods that were used. Those methods mirror what full truck load (FTL) cargo theft victims in the past have routinely seen. Single driver shipments, in three cases over weekend periods, where the driver stops at a truck stop and leaves his vehicle unattended for a brief period of time. The thieves steal the entire rig, attempt to swap out the original tractor, and bring it to another location to let it sit to see if anyone will come for it (essentially to check if a tracking device is active on the tractor, trailer, or inside the shipment).

Increased activity

A quick rundown of the thefts follows:

  • First weekend in November in Ohio (this is all that is available currently).
  • Tuesday, Nov. 14 – at the Flying J Travel Center off Interstate 75 near Jackson, Ga. A tractor and trailer (apart) were recovered less than a mile from the point of theft.
  • Sunday, Nov. 19, a truck stop in just outside of Shepardsville, Ky., off Interstate 65. The vehicle was recovered in Portland, Tenn. at truck stop 122 miles south on Interstate 65.
  • Friday, Nov. 17, a full truck load of cosmetics was stolen from a Wal-Mart parking lot near Oxford, NC, just off of Interstate 95. The tractor was swapped out by the thieves and recovered a short distance from the actual theft. The trailer and its contents remain at large.

Cargo theft experts are concerned about the surge of this type of activity in recent months. Most feel these can all be associated with the organized cargo theft gangs that have traditionally operated out of South Florida. After a couple of years of relative calm, things seem to be going back to the way they were some time ago.

Be proactive, vigilant

Trucking firms are advised take note of this recent trend – no matter the type of commodity being shipped. If you have anything on the road (this week in particular), share this intelligence with those both monitoring and transporting your loads. Don’t be a victim. Be proactive. Follow the suggestions on the tip sheet found here.

If you do suffer a loss get the information to law enforcement as fast as you can. Quick transfer of information, along with an established supply chain security program – that includes the likes of covert GPS tracking – were things that saved those three electronic loads.