Violent take-over robberies are on the rise in Southern California: An investigation into the organized world of “cargo pirates.” By Mary Harris and Hetty Chang
Truckers are being warned about the risk of cargo theft during the holiday weekend, especially in Southern California.
Since the beginning of the year, nearly $30 million in cargo has been stolen off of highways and from distribution centers throughout California. That is a 40% increase over last year, according to CargoNet, a cargo theft prevention and recovery network.
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MIAMI-DADE COUNTY, Fla. - Miami-Dade police's cargo theft squad and detectives from the Airport District arrested three men last week after they tried to steal a box truck that had $800,000 worth of cellphones inside, authorities said.
The suspects were identified Thursday as Daniel Ramirez-Castillo, 29, Yoel Brito, 42, and Luis Miguel Cordova, 39.
Police said undercover detectives watched the men for two weeks as they conspired to steal the truck.
Police said the men followed the truck for several days last week. They said the men tried to steal it Friday outside a business at 6640 NW 22nd Ave. after an undercover officer who was posing as a deliveryman entered the store.
The suspects used a copied key to gain access to the truck, authorities said.
The trio was arrested on charges of stalking, attempted grand theft of a vehicle and conspiracy to commit grant theft cargo, among other charges.
Police said they are seeking information about a 2007 Honda Odyssey with Miami Heat tag L3AJP whose driver fled the scene when the men were taken into custody.
Anyone with information about the vehicle is asked to call Miami-Dade Crime Stoppers at 305-471-TIPS.
FreightWatch International recorded a total of 193 cargo thefts in 2016’s third quarter, according to its quarterly theft report issued last week. The cargo theft monitoring firm pegged the average loss value of cargo theft instances in the quarter at $120,536 each in the third quarter of the year.
Compared to the 2016’s second quarter, theft occurrences rose 14 percent, but average loss value fell 26 percent. Compared to 2015’s third quarter, cargo theft incidents were up 7 percent, while values rose 38 percent.
During the third quarter, FreightWatch recorded 77 cargo thefts in July, 66 in August and 50 in September.
Electronics and home and garden were the most-stolen items in the quarter, each accounting for 18 percent of cargo thefts during the period, according to FWI. Food and drinks accounted for 17 percent of stolen items. In electronics, televisions and displays accounted for 31 percent of the thefts. In home and garden loads, appliances were most stolen. Meats and produce each accounted for 18 percent on the food and drinks items stolen.
Home and garden items saw the most dramatic increase in thefts when compared year-over-year with a 94 percent increase from 2015’s third quarter. Electronics thefts rose by 46 percent year-over-year.
California ranked as the top state in FWI’s numbers with 38 percent of total thefts in the quarter, followed by Texas with 16 percent of the total. Of the 193 thefts in the quarter, 75 percent of them occurred in unsecured parking locations, FreightWatch says. Secured parking locations accounted for 13 percent of thefts, and warehouse and distribution centers represented 11 percent of the thefts.
Additionally, FWI says theft of full truckload was most prevalent with 78 percent of third quarter thefts.