More than $18 million of cargo was stolen in the United States in the fourth quarter of 2014, according to new figures from CargoNet.
During the three-month period the cargo recovery service recorded 181 thefts, with 81 in October, 60 in November, and 40 in December. Fifty-five percent of the thefts occurred during Friday through Sunday.
Food and beverage items were the most stolen commodity and accounted for 24% of cargo thefts. Alcoholic and nonalcoholic beverages were the chief targets in that commodity category, but cargo thieves frequently stole sensitive items such as produce, meat products, seafood, and frozen food.
The end of the year brings increased demand for consumer electronics, said CargoNet, and not surprisingly, electronics constituted the bulk of the loss value. Although there were only 25 cargo thefts of electronic items, each theft averaged about $417,250. Televisions were the most targeted electronic theft.
California had the most thefts of any state, 39, followed by Texas with 31, Florida had 26, Georgia recorded 14 and Illinois had 12, rounding out the top five. New Jersey was number six with 10 cargo thefts, followed closely with Pennsylvania with nine.
“It’s unusual to see Pennsylvania on the list of states with the most cargo theft, but between October and December, crime groups based in states as far away as Florida aggressively targeted freight in Pennsylvania,” said CargoNet. “Pennsylvania serves as a shipping hub for the northeastern United States, and thus a considerable amount of desirable freight travels through it. More than $1.6 million in cargo was stolen in Pennsylvania in those three months. In some cases, the cargo sold before it was ever reported stolen.”