Given a recent rash of cargo thefts, truckers getting some rest while passing through the City of Brotherly Love may want to keep a closer eye on their loads.
Philadelphia police are on the hunt for five suspects following the pilfering of 15 boxes of frozen beef from a tractor-trailer that was parked overnight. The value of the thieves’ haul was estimated to be around $7,660.
The theft took place on Tuesday, Nov. 14 at the Jetro Restaurant supply warehouse across from Lincoln Financial Field in South Philadelphia. According to police, the driver said he was parked when he felt his truck shake and went to investigate.
What he found were three individuals at the rear of the trailer and two others sitting in a nearby parked car. The driver told police that one of the suspects said to him, “We’re only taking a little,” then motioned toward his hip – presumably implying the presence of a weapon.
Officials said the five suspects fled the scene in a silver Ford Explorer. An investigation into the theft is still ongoing.
The city recently has been the setting for several highly publicized cargo thefts.
In early October, thieves made off with roughly $73,000 worth of crab clusters – 184 cases in total – from a truck in the city’s north side. When police arrived on the scene, they witnessed several vehicles fleeing from an open trailer with the driver still asleep in the cab. The slumbering trucker said he didn’t hear or see anyone taking the items and that the trailer had been secured with a metal seal and padlock.
Later that month, a crew of four men were indicted for a string of cargo thefts that culminated in the theft of over $200,000 worth of dimes from a truck destined for a Federal Reserve Bank in Miami. Prosecutors alleged the crew also stole televisions, frozen food, liquor and refrigerators from trucks passing through the city.
Philadelphia police recorded 242 cargo theft incidents in 2022, according to a report from ABC6. That number could be surpassed this year, with 196 cargo thefts recorded so far, with the busy holiday season ahead.
The spike in cargo theft in recent months is a trend that isn’t likely to end soon, according to some industry insiders.
Recent data from CargoNet, a Jersey City, N.J.-based data- and information-sharing company working to combat cargo theft, shows a 59% increase in recorded theft events in the third quarter of 2023 when compared to the previous year.
“As we enter the final quarter of 2023, there is no indication that cargo theft activity will slow in the domestic United States,” the company said in a statement. “We anticipate that strategic cargo theft will remain at unprecedented levels of activity throughout the quarter.” LL