Upcoming long Labor Day weekend prime time for cargo theft

Updated Sep 2, 2022
Cargo theft map

If recent history is any indication, the upcoming long Labor Day weekend could mean truckers are likely to see an increase in cargo theft.

CargoNet, an organization that tracks cargo theft, examined trends from the Thursday before Labor Day to the Wednesday after Labor Day from 2017 to 2021 to help the industry mitigate theft this upcoming holiday.

The most activity in this analysis occurred on the Friday before Labor Day or Tuesday after Labor Day. In 20% of events, the property was last known to be secure on Friday and 27% theft complaints were reported on the Tuesday after Labor Day. CargoNet said it can infer that most victims parked on Friday to enjoy the holiday and returned to discover theft of their property on Tuesday. 

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CargoNet's analysis also found:

  • Thefts were most common at large retail parking lots, truck stops, and warehouses.
  • Targeted locations do vary by state though, as truck stops were a significant risk location in Texas and Florida, but not in California.
  • The counties with the most theft activity were Los Angeles County, Dallas County, and San Bernardino County, California jointly accounting for 18% of thefts.
  • Shipments of electronics goods like computers and televisions and household goods like furniture, appliances, and cleaning supplies were the most stolen goods. 

CargoNet warns logistics brokers to be on alert for identity fraud and cargo theft schemes, as these tactics are an increasingly common way to acquire desirable truckload shipments such as copper rods, high-end electronics, appliances, and perishable food products.

"We implore organizations that are tendering shipments over the internet to verify details of all transactions prior accepting a bid," CargoNet said in a news release. "Shippers should warn motor carriers of misdirection theft schemes and verify the intended delivery address with the driver prior to loading."

Organizations can step up security by:

  • Arranging for same-day delivery of short-haul shipments
  • Embedding covert tracking devices
  • Using high-security locks to prevent trailer burglaries

CargoNet said drivers should not leave their vehicles or shipments unattended, especially within 250 miles of pickup. Drivers should also be on the lookout for any vehicles that appear to be following them.

Noteworthy thefts from previous Labor Day holidays include:

  • $434,379 in apparel stolen from Pomona, California
  • $417,206 in computer electronics stolen from Ontario, California
  • $400,000 in vodka stolen from Jacksonville, Florida
  • $300,000 in computer electronics stolen from Los Angeles, California
  • $291,093 in hardware store merchandise stolen from Conley, Georgia