Crime gangs target moving trucks

Crime gangs target moving trucks

Hauliers are being warned about a new form of cargo crime, originating in Romania, and  spreading across Europe. Increasing incidents of theft from moving trucks have been especially prevalent within Germany and Belgium.

Security organisation Freightwatch says criminals drive close behind trucks cruising on highways during late night and early morning hours. They then break or saw open the lock of the trailer and pass the cargo to accomplices standing in the bed of the tailgating vehicle. 

In recent years, isolated cases have been reported in Spain and South Africa, but Freightwatch said more than 50 incidents have been officially recorded by police in the Western part of Germany (North-Rhine Westphalia) since mid-2012 alone. 

Freightwatch said: “In the past few weeks, one or several gangs using this MO have reportedly been operating on highways in Belgium. 

“FreightWatch has first-hand information concerning several incidents in which criminals stole a substantial amount of product from moving trailers. Most of the targeted shipments were on their way from the Netherlands to France (Calais and Paris). 

“The GPS and tachographic data show that the vehicles did not stop en route. At least one of the thefts likely took place along the E17 highway in the area of Lokeren (Flanders, northern part of Belgium). 

“A follow-up investigation located one of the stolen boxes along the edge of the highway.  It is believed the box may have been dropped during the theft.  To gain access to the load, the thieves had to cut a metal bolt seal as well as an additional padlock.”
Freightwatch added: “This type of criminal adaptation is likely due to the hardening of previously weak points in the supply chain. In Europe the use of secured parking areas is a common method utilised to help prevent theft.  It is clear the criminals have developed new methods to target product while it is in transit.
“Indications are that trucks are being followed by the criminals immediately after departing the origin site. The locks are cut when the vehicles briefly stop en route, at traffic lights for instance. The thieves then wait until the trucks are on the highway before they enter the trailer and unload the boxes.”
FreightWatch recommends that drivers be on the alert for suspicious vehicles immediately after departure and to be particularly aware of the risks when stopping at traffic lights.  

Real-time monitoring of trailer door breaches and immediate response protocols is also recommended to mitigate this risk.