Cargo thefts on the rise in Texas, analysts say

Cargo theft is on the rise in Texas with no signs of slowing down. Analysts said technology has helped with the sophisticated fraud schemes.

"It’s become a very lucrative industry for the bad guys," said CargoNet Vice President of Operations Keith Lewis.

Texas is one of the regional hotspots for cargo theft with a 22 percent uptick from this time last year.

"The faster and more efficiently we can move goods through the supply chain, the faster the bad guy can steal it," Lewis said.

Data analysts said technology has changed the way thieves are getting goods.

"We live in that virtual world now where there are no face-to-face, hand-to-hand transactions anymore. You post a load and a person, who you hope is who they say there are, looks at it, says that works for me, they click on it, you click on it, the paperwork is sent all electronically, PDF, you send that person the pickup information, and they pick up the load, and they’re gone with it," Lewis said.

Thieves are looking for small appliances, liquor, energy drinks, solar panels, virtual reality headsets, and copper, things in demand right now. CargoNet estimated a total of $153.6 million worth of goods were stolen during the first quarter of this year.

"These costs are now going to be passed on to the consumer at some point in time," Fusion Transport CEO Frank Matarazzo said.


"We’re going to come to a breaking point where nobody is going to be able to get insurance," Lewis said.

Transportation companies are working to fight the issue.

"The last two years, it has been so much of a concern we’ve had to create entire departments that do nothing but combat and plan for the best ways to deal with it," Matarazzo said.

Matarazzo said his company has a strict carrier vetting process, a checklist when the carrier and truck show up to the facility to ensure they are who they said they are, and one person oversees the entire process.

Cargo theft is a felony. If the total value of the cargo involved is $200,000 or more, it’s a first-degree felony.