FHP recently participated in Operation Cargo Theft, a joint cargo theft sting operation conducted for five days in Osceola County. The operation, which involved members of the Florida Commercial Vehicle & Cargo Theft Task Force comprised of the Florida Highway Patrol, Florida Department of Transportation’s Motor Carrier Compliance, the Osceola County Sheriff’s Office, Saint Lucie County Sheriff’s Office, Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office, Miami-Dade TOMCATS and the National Insurance Crime Bureau. The operation was hosted by the Osceola County Sheriff’s Office under the Florida Commercial Vehicle & Cargo Theft Task Force Voluntary Participation Mutual Aid Agreement sponsored by the Florida Highway Patrol.
The operation was conducted in response to reports of ten commercial vehicle/cargo thefts via the electronic Freight Theft Management System (EFTMS) in Osceola County since January 1, 2007. With losses of approximately $800 thousand dollars in cargo and equipment, the Theft Task Force created an action plan to prevent more thefts in the area. The main goal of this operation was to identify and arrest those individuals responsible for the high incidents of cargo theft in this area of the State and to deter future high dollar thefts.
To accomplish this goal, Cargo Theft Task Force members placed four semi-trailer decoys loaded with merchandise in strategic locations in Osceola County to lure any cargo thieves in the area. At 12:01 AM, June 8, the EFTMS on one of the semi truck decoys alerted investigators that it had detected movement. A short while later, it alerted investigators that one of the GEO Grids programmed into the system had been violated. FHP then tracked the stolen decoy trailer until it was stopped by Cargo Theft Task Force members in southwest Dade County.
Miami-Dade County Police Department TOMCATS and Task Force participants stopped the cargo theft suspects in southwest Dade County. The driver of the stolen decoy trailer initially escaped and was located and arrested in the area of the traffic stop. The driver of the counter-surveillance vehicle initially escaped and was later located and arrested. During the operation five semi-tractors valued at $137,000 were also stolen in Osceola County. Four of the semi-tractors were recovered in Osceola County and one of the semi-tractors was recovered in Dade County.
The suspects were arrested and charged with Cargo Theft, a first degree felony, Grand Theft, and Resisting Arrest without Violence. Other charges are pending in Osceola County. Excellent work FHP & Cargo Theft Task Force Members!