By James Jaillet
The Transportation Security Administration has issued an internal report warning of the potential for terrorists to use trucks as weapons to conduct attacks. TSA also released a list of countermeasures, mostly involving awareness of surroundings and reporting suspicious activity, that truck owners and operators should heed to help prevent such attacks from occurring.
Though none have occurred in the U.S., high-profile truck-ramming attacks have been carried out elsewhere, including a July 2016 attack in Nice, France, that killed 87 people and injured 430, and a similar attack in December 2016 in Berlin, Germany, in which 12 people were killed and 56 were injured. The TSA report cites these and 15 other vehicle-ramming attacks, 10 of which occurred in the past 10 months. The straight truck used in the Nice attack was rented, but the truck and trailer used by terrorists in the Berlin attack was hijacked and driven to Berlin by the assailant. The trucker was murdered by the attacker during the hijacking.
Carriers and drivers should maintain “a high level of alertness,” the report says, and should report suspicious activity to authorities and, in the case of drivers, to their carrier. Other countermeasures for carriers and drivers include parking in secure locations, ensuring vehicles are locked, refusing rides for hitchhikers and other strangers and, for carriers, ensuring route compliance of drivers.
Truck used in Berlin attack was hijacked, trucking company boss saysThe Scania tractor-trailer used in the deadly terror attack in Berlin, Germany, on Monday was hijacked, according to a report from Britain's The Independent, citing ...
“Commercial vehicle owners and operators should alert their staff to possible theft or hijacking of vehicles by would-be attackers and the importance of reporting suspicious activities to appropriate authorities,” the report says.
Dubbed “Vehicle Ramming: Threat Landscape, Indicators and Countermeasures,” the memo was issued to Homeland Security staffers, law enforcement agencies and others this week. The seven-page internal memo, marked unclassified, was obtained by Overdrive Friday.
“Terrorist organizations overseas have advocated conducting vehicle ramming attacks…against crowds, buildings and other vehicles. It is likely that terrorist groups will continue to encourage aspiring attackers to employ unsophisticated attacks such as vehicle-ramming, since these types of attacks minimize the potential for premature detection and could inflict mass fatalities, if successful,” according to the report.
Trucks in particular “present an especially attractive mechanism for ramming attacks,” the report says, “because of the ease with which they can penetrate security barriers and the large-scale damage they can inflict on people and infrastructure.”
— David Hollis contributed to this report.
ORIGINAL ARTICLE - CCJ
By Andrea Alvarez
“To my knowledge, in our 20 year history of being in this location, we have not had this kind of a theft,” said Donovan Mowery, the Warehouse Manager at LaSalle Bristol.
Several companies in Elkhart were targeted in the last 45 days. Their semi trailers were stolen right off their lots. There were also some thefts in South Bend. Now, police are now working with each other to investigate.
“Networking with other agencies so there's the sheriff’s department or South Bend or Saint Joe County. As they get information, you know, we can share that and hopefully be able to put the pieces of the puzzle together,” said Chris Snyder with Elkhart Police Department.
Eight of those trailers originally came from Kingman Mobile Storage in Elkhart. They’re leased to businesses in the county like LaSalle Bristol.
“We’ve had three trailers stolen from the lot during the evening hours when the facility is closed,” said Mowery.
Mowery says nothing was in those trailers, but nonetheless, the theft is costing them big bucks.
“You’re talking about a value of approximately 20,000 dollars for all three trailers,” said Mowery.
So how do police go about catching these thieves?
“We get the serial or Vin number for the trailer, were able to enter that into a state and national computer so that if anybody runs that the number, if they were to get pulled over for some reason, it would come back as being stolen,” said Snyder.
However, Mowery says that will be difficult since all the trailers stolen from them were intended for storage only so they weren’t plated for road use. Now, he says the company has taken steps to ensure it doesn’t happen again.
“We have put glad hands locks on all the trailers which disable the e-brake line so the trailer cannot be moved off the lot,” said Mowery.
Police suggest other businesses follow suit.
“Whether its locks on the trailer, making sure you’re buildings are secure, different things like that. We certainly encourage all the businesses to come up with some type of system to be able to secure your property,” said Snyder.
Elkhart police say they have received surveillance video from LaSalle Bristol of that theft happening. There are no suspects at this time, however they are working with those other agencies to collect all of the details for leads on the investigation.
Cargo theft is one of the most lucrative criminal activities in Canada, but it rarely makes headlines. And yet it’s costing consumers and the economy an estimated $5 billion a year.
“A decade or so ago, it was probably a more opportunistic crime,” David Bradley of the Ontario Trucking Association told W5. “But what I think has occurred is that organized crime syndicates have seen that it’s relatively low risk, high reward, and there seems to be a market for just about anything somewhere in the world.”
Stolen cargo - the stuff loaded in trailers and hooked onto trucks - can range from high priced electronics, cars and booze to everyday products like cheese, candy, toilet paper and household detergents.
Stolen cargo can range from high priced electronics, cars and booze to everyday products like cheese, candy, toilet paper and household detergents (W5).
Unsecured truck storage yards are tempting targets for thieves (W5)
David Bradley of the Ontario Trucking Association tells W5 organized crime syndicates are taking advantage of the growing transportation industry.
Once thieves get their hands on a load, selling it is easy. Organized crime groups know who is in the market for a particular product and often have buyers lined up, or the goods are sold off piecemeal to corner stores and flea markets. Some buyers have no idea they’re paying for a stolen product, while others don’t ask questions.
“There’s a lot of willful blindness,” said Detective Sergeant Paul LaSalle, the head of the Auto Cargo Theft Unit at York Regional Police, one of just two specialized teams in the country.
If selling the stolen goods is easy, stealing them in the first place is even easier.
“The transportation industry is growing really quickly,” said Mike Grabovica, the owner of Birdseye, a company that sells security systems. “So carriers are looking for additional yards to supplement their increased inflow of business and these additional yards tend to be highly unsecured.”
Those unsecured yards are tempting targets for thieves. Even facilities with security cameras are easy to penetrate. Grabovica took W5 to three truck storage yards in the Toronto area. We passed through open gates without challenge, hung around in plain view and checked to see if trailers were loaded.
Standing in the middle of one yard, Grabovica said, “We’re knocking on trucks. We’re trying to open doors. I mean, if this isn’t acting suspiciously, I don’t know what is.”
It would not have taken long to hot wire a truck and steal a load of cargo. But we were never challenged.
Small wonder the number of cargo thefts is growing. In 2014, The Insurance of Bureau of Canada handled around 200 reports. This year, the number has doubled to more than 400, primarily in Southern Ontario. That’s more than one a day.
Right now, Peel and York Regional Police are the only two forces in Canada with specialized cargo theft units. That’s partly because the Greater Toronto Area is a transportation hub and there are more trucks and cargo to steal. At one recent raid, York Regional Police recovered a truckload of stolen candy worth more than $200,000. Two suspects were arrested, but if they’re convicted, the chances of a stiff sentence are small.
“The people that are involved in various crimes get suspended sentences or they get off because they haven’t been caught before,” said David Bradley. “I think most people would feel that the penalties aren’t sufficient to really act as a deterrent.”
But it’s about to become more difficult for thieves. Working with trucking associations and law enforcement, the Insurance Bureau of Canada has developed the National Cargo Theft Reporting Program to keep track of cargo theft across the country. It’s just beginning to operate, but already it’s making a difference.
“We’re seeing the recovery numbers change drastically because we are getting hits on the database,” said Garry Robertson of the Insurance Bureau of Canada. “The police are finding the property now and we are able to get it back and get it to the insurer, trucking company or whoever is the owner.”
The data base will make it easier to track down thieves and bring them to justice, but despite improved detection techniques cargo theft isn’t about to disappear. Standing beside a board with a list of 25 current investigations, Detective Sergeant Paul LaSalle laughed when asked if there was any chance he’d ever go out of business. “No,” he answered. “It’s just too profitable for the thieves.”
VIDEO LINK- www.ctvnews.ca/video?clipId=759076
Today's Trucking Staff
TORONTO, ON — In security circles, the Greater Toronto Area has come to be known as the “shopping triangle” for cargo thieves who continue to wreak havoc on the Canadian trucking industry to the tune of $5 billion per year, snapping up everything from electronics to metals, by any means necessary.
Canada’s cargo theft crisis continues to escalate, with reports to the Insurance Bureau of Canada doubling to 400 over 2015 alone, primarily in southern Ontario. As Canada’s most targeted area, the shopping triangle is a geographical region that’s not only on organized crime’s radar, but the radar of security experts like Ron Hartman, too, who’s working to empower trucking companies through a long list of modern prevention measures.
“We all know it’s a lot easier to prevent a crime than solve it,” says Hartman, speaking at a Wednesday seminar hosted by the Private Motor Truck Council of Canada. “You must think like a criminal.”
Hartman is director of security solutions for AFIMAC Global, which specializes in cargo theft prevention. While the old school criminal methods of hijacking cargo are alive and well, Hartman says technology has allowed for more criminals to operate from behind the safety of a desk, utilizing online information and applications to find new ways to infiltrate the system, and of course, precious cargo.
One of the more recent cargo theft phenomenon is dubbed fraudulent pickups. Essentially, criminals setup an entirely fictitious trucking company online, and then use it to prey on shippers who don’t do their homework, failing to screen and verify data. The criminals troll load boards and make a deal.
“Then that load gets picked up and never delivered,” says Hartman.
Hartman describes the cargo theft business as “low risk, low penalty, high reward.” In fact, theft is so pervasive that he estimates as much as 60 per cent of these crimes go unreported, mostly out of fear over rising insurance premiums, or corporate image. Of course, nobody likes to admit they’re a victim.
Once criminals have secured their stolen goods, Hartman says they tend to break down the shipment into smaller quantities, repackage, then export it.
“For those with an untrained eye, it looks like the normal course of business,” adds Hartman.
When it comes to what exactly thieves are stealing, the answer is anything and everything. Recent Canadian heists involved T-Shirts and a shipment of silver, but electronics continue to lead the way, Hartman says, representing about 18 per cent of cargo thefts. Items like beverages and auto parts both represent 10 per cent of thefts.
In 2014, in an attempt to put a stop to cargo theft crime nationwide, theInsurance Bureau of Canada andCanadian Trucking Alliance teamed up and expanded their joint IBC-CTA reporting form into a national reporting program.
EDMONTON — Cargo theft is a big-ticket industry in Canada, costing Canadians upwards of $5 billion per year. But now, police, insurance groups and trucking associations are hoping to crack down on the crime, which is on the rise in Alberta.
Thieves often target trucks carrying household items like laundry detergent, T-shirts and electronics, and sell them in underground, illegal markets.
“A thriving black market keeps sophisticated and networked thieves in business,” the IBC said.
Shawn Korchinski drives truck and says he’s always on alert for thieves. But even though he watches his load like a hawk, Korchinski’s been through some interesting ordeals.
“I’ve pulled into a truck stop, gone in for something to eat, come out, didn’t check my pin when I go away and drive away the pin’s been pulled and the trailer drops,” he explained.
He’s also heard horror stories from fellow drivers.
“Guys will be sleeping in the bunks… and all of a sudden they wake up the truck’s there but the trailer’s gone. Someone’s gone in, moved the truck out and boom! There goes the trailer.”
Often times, the items are sold off before they’re even reported stolen.
“We see loads that are stolen at 3 a.m., the goods are for sale at yard sales by 8 a.m. And in one instance, later that same day the other half of the load is Stateside destined for the Port of Los Angeles,” Bill Adams with the IBC said.
“These (are) criminal gangs. These are not a mom and pop operation, this is not a crime of opportunity. These are sophisticated rings.”
In hopes of getting one step ahead of the thieves, trucking companies, police and the insurance industry have teamed up. They’ve created a national database that tracks and shares cargo theft details.
“We hope that by having this kind of pan-Canadian approach to the issue and by working with counterparts in the U.S., that ultimately we will get ahead of this,” Adams said.
The cargo theft reporting program has already seen success in eastern Canada. The IBC says companies have managed to recover about one third of all the reported stolen cargo since the database was created.
On Tuesday, it was expanded to include B.C., Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba. For more information on the program, visit the IBC’s website.
HILLSBOROUGH (FOX 13) -The Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office thwarted a massive pharmaceutical drug heist during an undercover sting that resulted in the arrest of two truck drivers.
April 16th, detectives arrested Jose Levy-Ibanez, 46, and Arnaldo Zaldivar, 53, on several drug related and grand theft charges.
The day before, a confidential informant tipped off the Hillsborough Sheriff's Office.
"We received information that there was going to be a hijacking of a tractor trailer full of pharmaceuticals," Maj. J.R. Burton said.
According to the sheriff's office, Ibanez was hired to drive the truck from a pharmaceutical warehouse in Lakeland to one in Atlanta, GA.
Instead, deputies say, Ibanez met up with Zaldivar at a truck stop in Sumter County, the two disabled a GPS unit in the truck and switched places.
Ibanez continued north toward Atlanta with the GPS unit now in a car, and Zaldivar drove the truck south toward Tampa.
"We, of course, had surveillance on the truck the entire time," Maj. Burton said.
Undercover detectives arranged to buy a portion of the load from Zaldivar at a truck stop off U.S. 301 north of I-4.
"He then parked, met our undercover detective. They negotiated a price for the load, and at that point we arrested him," Maj. Burton said.
The sheriff's office believes the truck was destined for Miami possibly to be smuggled overseas.
"A load that size you have to have a pretty large scale buyer. That's not something that you would disperse out on the street," Maj. Burton said.
Police officers say they are searching for two men who shot a truck driver and then stole his trailer in northwest Atlanta.
The violent hijacking happened on Marietta Street and Perry Boulevard early Tuesday morning.
According to investigators, the truck driver was leaving the Norfolk Southern train yard when he was held up by two men. During the hijacking, the victim was shot in the head.
Channel 2’s Sophia Choi spoke to investigators at the scene.
“They forced him out of the truck, a struggle ensued, the victim was shot once. He had a graze wound to the head. He has been transported to Grady Hospital and is in stable condition at this time,” said Atlanta Police Capt. Terrell Griffin.
Investigators are searching for the rest of the man's rig, after finding the cab in DeKalb County. The truck's cab had a GPS tracker but the trailer does not.
“We're looking for a JB Hunt truck, a white cab, white trailer and the vehicle has homegood items, which is furniture,” Griffin said.
Investigators are going back to the areas where they know the truck stopped, before the thieves dumped the cab.
They're hoping clues in those areas will lead to the two thieves.