Theft Spree Hits Tractor Trailers
Number of rigs that went missing spikes 67%
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 1, 2010 9:43 AM CST
Trucks ride next to the U.S.-Mexico border in this file photo.   (AP Photo/Guillermo Arias)
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(Newser) – Police around the country are reporting big spikes in thefts of cargo-laden tractor trailers along the nation’s highways. Last year some 859 rigs went missing, loaded with $487 million worth of goods—a 67% increase from 2008. “In the past two months, we’ve just seen such an increase,” says a New Jersey cop leading a cargo-theft squad. “It’s to the point where criminals are just wreaking havoc. They’ll pretty much steal anything.”

Cops in Illinois, California, Pennsylvania, and elsewhere are also looking into spikes. Unlike the widespread hijackings of the 1960s, police say most of these thefts are non-violent, with the culprits making off with trucks while the driver is on break. Organized crime may be involved, but “we are seeing a lot more amateurs getting into this,” one California highway patrolman tells the Wall Street Journal.