Upcoming long Memorial Day weekend prime time for cargo theft

Updated May 21, 2024
Cargo theft chart

Supply chain professionals should be on high alert this upcoming Memorial Day weekend because cargo thieves will seek to leverage extended business closures, according to a company that monitors cargo theft.

CargoNet, a Verisk business, reviewed theft data from 2019 to 2023 for the Thursday prior to Memorial Day to the Wednesday after to help supply chain professionals mitigate theft. There were 146 events reported with an average of 29 events per year. The stolen cargo in each event was worth an average of $264,016 - due in part to three thefts that exceeded $1 million in property stolen.

The data from the past five years shows a significant rising trend in theft events, with 16 events in 2022, increasing to 40 events in 2023. Seventeen percent of recorded thefts occurred on Friday and a significant number of thefts also occurred on Wednesday (15%) and Tuesday (15%).

Food and beverage items were the most stolen (24 incidents) and cargo thieves targeted a wide range of products in this category. Household items were the second most targeted commodity with 23 incidents and electronics had 18 reported incidents.

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CargoNet has been tracking a sharp rise in highly technical shipment misdirection fraud schemes across the United States. Fictitious pickup and fraud complaints have reached record-breaking numbers.

Geographically, California (43 incidents) remains the most at-risk state and has nearly double the reported incidents from the second most reported state (Texas at 22 incidents). Most of the misdirection fraud has taken place in California, but some shipments have shipped from other states and have been misdirected to California.

Given these trends, it is crucial for supply chain stakeholders to enhance security measures, particularly in the identified high-risk states and locations, and for the most targeted commodity categories. Industry professionals should be on high alert for unauthorized attempts to misdirect shipments from the intended receiver.

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Before accepting a bid on a shipment, logistics brokers should consider enhanced carrier qualification practices including:

  • verifying with the registered FMCSA phone number or email
  • monitoring FMCSA SAFER for recent MCS-150 form updates, which may indicate unauthorized changes to a motor carrier's contact information
  • checking for established, positive load history.

Shippers should consider enhancing sign-in procedures to capture vital information about the truck and driver picking up a shipment. Increased vigilance during the Memorial Day weekend can help mitigate the risk of theft and ensure the smooth functioning of the supply chain.

Noteworthy thefts from previous Memorial Day weekends include:

  • $3,974,370 in pharmaceuticals in Clermont, Florida
  • $1,600,000 in pharmaceuticals in Clermont, Florida
  • $1,000,000 in electronics in Kennesaw, Georgia
  • $623,913 in pharmaceuticals in San Francisco, California

CargoNet included records of property theft - stolen cargo or stolen trucking vehicles - from the Thursday before Memorial Day to the Wednesday after Memorial Day from 2019 to 2023.