Cargo security firm Freightwatch International said a suspect hijacked a last-mile courier load of pharmaceutical products at gunpoint outside of a pharmacy in Detroit on Monday morning.
The load was being monitored by a FreightWatch covert GPS tracking device as well as an on-person panic device that was with the driver.
During the hijacking, the thief took the panic device before the driver was able to activate it and commandeered the courier van containing 30 totes of pharmaceuticals.
The covert tracking device was able to lead local law enforcement to an abandoned car manufacturing plant where the thieves were relocating the stolen pharmaceuticals. Police arrived minutes after the thieves abandoned the cargo and the load was partially recovered.
Frightwatch said armed tactics are becoming more common among last-mile thefts of pharmaceuticals. Layered security solutions are recommended for all facilities and vehicles handling controlled substances. It said it recorded 11 last-mile courier thefts in 2012. Michigan, it said, suffered a 23 percent rate increase of thefts involving violence, almost double the rate of violence of any other state
Earlier this week, FreightWatch reported 940 cargo theft incidents throughout the United States in 2012, only 0.53 percent fewer than in 2011, the highest number of theft incidents on record. FreightWatch added theft reports from 2012 will continue to flow in over the coming weeks due to delayed reporting.
With an average of 78.3 cargo theft incidents per month, the United States sustained cargo theft incidents at a rate of 2.58 per day. Of these thefts, 760 (80.85 percent) were full-truckload or container thefts and 41 (4.36 percent) were less-than-truckload losses.
Deceptive, or fictitious, pickups have been on the rise since the start of FreightWatch's data, peaking in 2012 at 61 incidents. Thefts from facilities saw 17 incidents, with only one including any human contact with the thieves. Incidents involving violence remain a very low portion of cargo thefts, representing 2.2 percent of all incidents. - Chris Dupin