Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Armed Robbers Use Own Rigs to Steal Containers from Los Angeles Port Truck Yard

A nighttime armed robbery at a Port of Los Angeles trailer storage yard left a guard and yard employee injured after thieves made off with five cargo containers.

An unidentified suspect approached the yard at 1000 Farragut Ave. in Wilmington about 10 p.m. Sunday posing as a lost truck driver. The suspect lured the unarmed guard out of the yard where two additional masked suspects overpowered and beat the guard. The suspects also beat an unidentified female yard employee, tying up and leaving both victims in a security office at the location, according to Los Angeles Harbor Police.

The thieves, who claimed to have guns that were never brandished, then used their own tractors to make off with five trailers with loaded containers, according to an uninjured witness who spoke with police.

Both guards were transported to area hospitals with minor to moderate facial and head injuries, but were reported in good condition.

Police continue to investigate the crime and have not released information on contents of the stolen containers.

The storage yard is in a remote northern area of the port and located less than a block from a freeway on-ramp.

California leads the nation in cargo theft, with nearly twice the reported incidents than number two Florida.

"After a significant spike in cargo theft activity in 2009, we expected theft rates to level out somewhat in 2010,” said Ron Greene, General Manager of logistics security firm FreightWatch International, USA. “What we are witnessing, however, is a more targeted approach by cargo thieves, seeking multi-trailer thefts and large scale warehouse burglaries, including the largest loss on record.”

According to the FreightWatch mid-year 2010 cargo theft report, food and beverages emerged as the most commonly stolen by cargo thieves, accounting for 22 percent of all theft incidents. Meat products, canned beverages (sports drinks, energy drinks and juices), and raw products (such as sugar and coffee) were the most commonly stolen products in the food and beverage commodity category.

Thefts of electronics were a close second, accounting for 19 percent of all theft incidents.