TORONTO, Ont. — The Canadian Trucking Alliance (CTA) says a much-publicized truck chase in Ontario is an indication that cargo crime is a growing problem.
The organization says while media reports focused on the ‘trucker’ who led the police chase along the QEW in a tractor pulling an empty flatbed trailer, in reality the trailer carried a load of wafer board when originally pilfered from a Niagara area truck stop.
The CTA also takes issue with the driver being referred to as a ‘trucker’ when it appears he was a professional thief – not driver. The driver was out on bail after being charged in December 2010 for possessing a load of stolen Sony Playstations valued at $1 million, the CTA indicated.
“Yesterday’s incident highlights the need to take cargo crime more seriously and it demonstrates how truck drivers work together to protect themselves and to fight cargo crime,” CTA CEO David Bradley said in a statement yesterday.
The CTA has also discovered an observant truck driver played a role in capturing the thief. The driver was a colleague of the owner/operator who owned the stolen truck and became suspicious when he saw it travelling along the 401 without a load. He called his friend’s cell phone and found out his truck had been stolen. He then called police to report the location of the rig.
CTA’s Bradley said it’s alarming the truck was stolen from a well-lit, secure yard, where the owner had been safely parking it for 20 years. Further, the trailer was equipped with an immobilizing device.
“And, yet, the thief was still able to take the unit,” said Bradley. “Thankfully, the event ended peacefully. The police should be commended for keeping the travelling public safe and bringing the stolen truck to a safe stop. But it could have been much worse. What happened shows us that the industry, government and the enforcement agencies must do a better job of working together to develop countermeasures to combat this serious area of criminality.”
Bradley said truckers are at risk of personal harm during truck and cargo thefts while the cost to the industry is enormous.
“Often, there is little to no risk but potentially huge profits to be made (by thieves). If perpetrators keep getting out on bail or serve only very short sentences, what’s stopping them from doing this again? Much tougher sentencing is needed,” Bradley said.
The CTA, meanwhile, has developed a Cargo Crime Incident Report in partnership with the Insurance Bureau of Canada. Truck fleets are encouraged to report cargo theft incidences so the industry can better understand the true costs and strengthen its lobbying efforts for harsher sentences.
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