Strategic cargo theft can be discrete, but every crime has its signs. It only takes one attentive carrier to potentially stop a crime.

Posted & filed under Carrier Connection.

Since 2014, Kentucky has averaged 1.6 strategic cargo theft incidences per year. Since August 1, 2023, the Kentucky State Police Department (KSPD) has reported 12 strategic cargo theft incidents.

This enormous spike is causing significant alarm for locals and nationals alike. As cargo theft continues to be a primary issue of interest for the trucking industry in 2023, the events in Kentucky indicate a potentially significant problem industrywide.

Though these numbers can be sobering, several safe practices and preventative measures can be undertaken to prevent tragedy.

But first…


What’s Going On in Kentucky?

‘Strategic cargo theft’ isn’t like your run-of-the-mill truck break-in. Strategic theft involves coordination between groups for collaborative, organized crime.

The KSPD attributes the 12 strategic cargo theft incidents to two crime rings in Kentucky. The groups appear to use double-brokering techniques through legitimate carriers to make off with a load.

One industry official noted that loads coming out of Kentucky can be “very valuable” and make prime targets for fraud of this variety.

Once shipments are seized, criminals redirect the load to other parts of the country to create jurisdictional conflicts. Though police departments across the United States frequently correspond, the additional communication complicates investigations. This can make locating lost loads very difficult.


What the Kentucky Cases Mean for the United States

Unfortunately, strategic cargo theft is not limited to Kentucky. The occurrence of strategic cargo theft is somewhat random, making these crimes unpredictable.

Regardless, the occurrences in Kentucky should serve as a cautionary tale for brokers and carriers to exercise extreme caution when moving a load and look for signs of double-brokering, including:

  • Inconsistent information on the BOL and the company’s actual information
  • Offering a rate that’s too good to be true
  • The broker authority cannot be found on FMCSA’s website
  • …and more.

To learn more about double-brokering, view our comprehensive double-brokering article here:


Cargo theft, in its many forms, has seen significant spikes in 2023. Strategic cargo theft can be discrete, but every crime has its signs. It only takes one attentive carrier to potentially stop a crime organization.


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