BURFORD, ON — “Call me. Even if you’re not in our area. Call me. If I can’t help you right away I’ll use my network to find somebody who can.”
That from Detective Seargent Lou Malbeuf of the York Regional Police’s Commercial Auto Theft Unit. And it’s directed to any trucker out there who’s been ripped off.
He sent the same message to scores of truckers at a standing-room-only presentation on cargo crime Thursday in the south central Ontario village of Burford. (Burford’s also the home base for Ontario Trucking Association Chairman Jeff Bryan.)
The day-long show in Burford was, by any measure, a remarkable undertaking. See “Canadian Truckers in Crime-Fighting Trim.”
Malbeuf was one of more than a dozen presenters. Joining him on the panel were carriers Bison, Kriska, Tandet and Liberty Linehaul. Other speakers included border guards, MTO inspectors, cops and even a spokesman from the Insurance Bureau of Canada.
Two men from CargoNet declaimed why membership in their crime-fighting organization makes sense for everybody in the supply chain. And finally, the Canadian Trucking Alliance (CTA) and Ontario Trucking Association (OTA) orchestrated the event to kick off its cargo-crime battle called Project Momentum, which, they say, should eventually become a nation-wide war on the scourge.
And each expert at the table presented his perspective on why that was or how to fight cargo-theft.
But it was Malbeuf — the straight talking right-from-central-casting auto-theft cop from north of Toronto — that drew the loudest applause. Probably because of his outright vow to the audience that if they contacted him about losing something or seeing suspicious activity, he would personally handle the challenge.
“I mean it,” he told todaystrucking.com. “905 955-1682’s my cell. My email’s email@example.com.”
Malbeuf also said that carriers or drivers or shippers who need help with a theft should act immediately, because, he says, trucks full of stolen cargo aren’t driven around for a few days until they find a place to park. Instead, he says, swiped shipments are broken up within hours of the truck disappearing, so the loads are very difficult to track.
“These trucks are in a warehouse being unloaded 15 minutes after they’re stolen,” he said.
Another reason to report a problem quickly?
“We,“ Malbeuf said, “discovered a million dollars worth of liquor and we don’t have a victim. Why? Because nobody reported the loss.”
Furthermore, Malbeuf added that he believes that 90 to 95 percent of thefts stem from inside the companies involved. “Why? Because people like to talk. Drivers talk. Secretaries talk. They share news about loads and they talk.
“We’re police. We know that even though people know they’re being wiretapped, they still talk.”
And he wants truckers to speak up too.
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