Sopranos back in business?

AUSTIN, Tex. – New Jersey’s cargo thefts flew off the charts in 2010 with a staggering 142 percent increase of recorded incidents over 2009.

While California, Florida and Texas all saw slight decreases in the number of cargo theft incidents, the Garden State apparently had 121 cargo thefts compared to just 50 the year before, according to FreightWatch International.

Not surprisingly, TVs were stolen in the U.S. more than any other single product in 2010, which was an annual record for stolen cargo.

Cargo theft rose by 4.1 percent last year, to 899 cargo theft incidents (an average of 75 per month) the most ever recorded, the Austin, Tex. Group reports.

As an industry, food and beverage was the most heavily hit by cargo theft, accounting for 21 percent of total theft activity, with an average loss value of $125,000 per incident.

The commonly stolen goods were raw products such as rice, sugar, tea and coffee. Meats and canned drinks were also on robbers’ radar.

Food was closely followed by the electronics sector, accounting for 19 percent of all cargo theft and an average loss per incident of $512,000.

After TVs, computer-laptops and cell phones were the most stolen cargo products.

Pharmaceuticals once again measured as the highest per-incident value lost, averaging $3.78 million, with tobacco second and electronics third.

Freightwatch identified multiple-trailer thefts as an important trend in 2010.

"While not an entirely new M.O., the rate of occurrence far surpasses any previous year, demonstrating that criminals are aiming to increase their take-per-theft ratio," the report notes. "This M.O. increases the profitability of their efforts while keeping their risk of exposure (from multiple theft incidents) low."

Of all the reported incidents, 81 percent were full truckload or container thefts. Violence, such as hijackings, was involved in 1.3 percent of the incidents.  

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