With $15-30 Billion in annual cargo theft in the United States, cargo crime is a serious problem for business and law enforcement. The loss of just one full truck load can cost a company anywhere from $12,000 to $5 Million. The seriousness of this problem for commerce in the United States has prompted the FBI to form cargo theft task forces in major cities including Memphis, Houston, Newark, New York, San Juan, and Miami. Unit Chief Eric B. Ives, who heads the Major Theft Unit in the FBI’s Criminal Investigative Division, says “Cargo theft is our number-one priority in Major Theft.”
How Cargo Thieves Operate
Cargo thieves in the United States typically target “over-the-road” trailers with high-value freight, monitoring truck stops, freight yards, and other areas where tractor-trailers frequently are left unattended. Thieves will identify a truck carrying millions of dollars worth of inventory, follow it to a truck stop, seize it and drive away. Visible GPS antennas on trailers or tractors are quickly and easily discarded, rendering this protection measure useless.
Stolen trailers either are emptied quickly of freight, or are parked and placed under counter-surveillance to watch for police response to a tracking signal. Once the thieves are assured the tractor-trailer is not equipped with a hidden tracking device, the vehicle is moved to a designated area nearby. One common technique is for thieves to move the stolen freight into a “clean” trailer as soon as possible via a back-to-back transfer. This operation has been completed for a full 53-foot load of consumer electronics in as little as 30 minutes. Other techniques include driving the entire stolen rig to a final destination (often painting over or peeling off company identification) and using a satellite warehouse in the vicinity of the theft location for storage of stolen property.
Why Covert Cargo Tracking Defeats Criminals
Given that cargo thieves know how to disable GPS antennas on trailers and tractors, and are capable of transferring stolen cargo so quickly to “clean” trailers, manufacturers must turn to other solutions to protect their cargo from theft. A highly effective solution is covert cargo tracking. Covert cargo trackers are small battery-powered devices that use assisted GPS to transmit location data. These trackers are so small that they can be completely concealed from criminal eyes. Assisted GPS technology ensures that the covert trackers can accurately transmit location information, even though they do not have view of the open sky. Even if cargo thieves transfer the load to a different trailer, they will still be caught because the trackers reveal the location of the actual cargo they are stealing.
Real-Life Recoveries Using Covert Cargo Tracking
During a 60-day period in 2006, three separate full truck loads (FTLs)—carrying a combined cargo wholesale value of nearly $5 Million—were stolen and recovered in less than two hours each incident. Covert cargo tracking with FSNtracks led law enforcement directly to the stolen loads where criminals were apprehended and cargo was recovered. Cargo was recovered so quickly, in fact, that each of these deliveries was still made on time.
March 5th, 2007
Transport Security, Inc. Waconia, MN received a call from an owner operator of Truckload Trucking Company explaining how the ENFORCER® Air Cuff® Lock prevented his truck & trailer from being stolen. The driver wrote a letter explaining the attempted theft and how the Air Cuff® Lock thwarted the would be thief………
Letter from Owner Operator for a Truckload Trucking Company-Bronx, New York
Dear Members of Transport Security,
How are you and your so concerned staff? It gives me great pleasure to tell you I still own and have in my possession my 1999 model 379 Peterbilt and 1997 Wabash trailer thanks to your ENFORCER® Air Cuff® Lock. On February 22, 2007, late in the evening, I arrived safely in New York after traveling over 4 hours from my last pick-up of perishable goods, a routine I have done for the past eight years. I left my tractor and trailer parked in my regular spot. On February 23rd at or around 12:00 am midnight, I left my tractor and trailer parked. I fed my dogs and had a refreshing clothing change. I returned to my equipment around 3:30 am. I opened the driver’s door to notice glass on my floor near the pedals. I looked to find the source of the broken glass, but had no success. I attempted to put the keys in the ignition but to my surprise, the ignition hole was bare. I looked even closer and saw that my dashboard was removed enough for the culprit to remove the ignition switch for their wiring to start the vehicle. I presume the vehicle was started but to release the air, I guess they changed their mind and left after meeting “Mr. Air Cuff”. I then noticed my passenger air vent window was broken giving the culprit entrance. They did not touch any of my belongings, which makes me moved to announce the savings. The $70 equipment saved me and my family. I thank the staff and all members of Transport Security for being here to support us with deterrents for these upcoming freeloaders. Thank you.
February 28th, 2007
New Assisted-GPS Covert Tracker Snares Unsuspecting Thieves
Thieves should think twice before hi-jacking a trailer carrying The ENFORCER® Trax 200 new covert cargo trackers. When Orestes Miribal stole a trailer carrying $1.5 million in cigarettes along Interstate 95 in St. Johns County, Georgia, he never imagined he’d get caught 90 minutes later.* He even took the extra precaution of switching the stolen trailer to a different tractor to elude law enforcement recovery efforts. However, what Miribal did not know was that his purloined cargo also included special covert tracking units monitored by The ENFORCER® Tracking Service. Within minutes of the rig’s driver reporting the theft—which occurred during a late night break at a truck stop—the cargo’s shipper began monitoring the current location and direction of the stolen load using ENFORCER® Trax 200 web-based tracking service that provides up-to-the-minute location information. While Miribal and his accomplices were switching the trailer to a different tractor in a remote area along IH-95, Using the latest Assisted-GPS tracking technology embedded in the cigarette cargo itself The ENFORCER® Trax 200 kept an eye on the location of the cargo—significantly narrowing the search area and making it much faster for law officers to find the perpetrator and recover the stolen cargo. In fact, the entire stolen load was recovered so quickly it was still delivered on time to its intended destination.
“This is a good example of technology paying big dividends for us,” saidSheriff David Shoar of the St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office.**
The ENFORCER® Tracking Service is a web-based service that electronically monitors high-value products while they are being delivered to distributors and resellers. The ENFORCER® Trax 200 solution makes driver freight security compliance monitoring and covert cargo tracking affordable by replacing human resources with low cost, portable, electronic tracking devices.
* Facts taken from “Driver takes a break, hijacker takes his truck”, The Times-Union, written by
Dana Treen, published on Wednesday August 9, 2006.
** Quote taken from “Stolen Big Rig, $1.5M worth of Cigarettes Recovered” posted on 6:28 am EDT August 8, 2006 by News4Jax.com.
About Transport Security, Inc.
Transport Security, Inc. has been a leader in providing High Security Solutions for the transportation supply chain for over 25 years. The ENFORCER® Line of Security products include King Pin Locks, Air Cuff® Locks, Rear Door Trailer Locks, C-TPAT Security Seals and the full line of ABLOY® Padlocks. For More Information:
Waconia, MN – The Cargo Guard protects the roll up door latch handle, locking mechanism and the padlock with a 10 gauge high strength steel protective shield.
On the first weekend of use the thief attempted to break into a major store chain’s truck that was secured with an ABLOY® padlock and the ENFORCER® Cargo Guard. The thief was not able to gain access to the ABLOY® padlock underneath the Cargo Guard. The truck itself sustained no damage and the load of high value merchandise remained secured.
Waconia, MN – October 19th 2004 – The ENFORCER® Air Cuff™ Lock saves a high value load from being stolen at a truck stop.
Last night an attempted truck theft involving a major truckload carrier, with a high value load was prevented in Sparks, NV. The truck’s dashboard was severely damaged, while the Air Cuff™ Lock prevented the truck from being stolen. The cargo was still secured because the driver placed the ENFORCER® ABLOY® padlock on his trailer doors and had his ENFORCER® Air Cuff™ Lock in place over the air valves on the dashboard.
The driver stayed in his cab to make sure no one came back or tried to steal any of his personal belongings and called road maintenance in morning.