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Defendants accused of stealing by posing as truckers

It just takes 18 wheels and a little bit of effort to make off with a big payday. That is what authorities nationwide are reporting. From the loading docks at farms to the back bays of electronics companies, an increasing amount of cargo is going missing. In this type of commercial identity theft, a growing number of businesses are reporting that a simple, yet effective scheme is resulting in major losses: Drivers simply unload cargo into their private tractor-trailer rigs, making off with major hauls.

Recent reports of theft include some 80,000 pounds of walnuts in California, which were valued at about $300,000. The defendants are even accused of making off with other perishable goods, including massive amounts of cheese, meat and king crab legs.

Authorities allege that the defendants in these cases are using the Internet to find out vast amounts of information about companies that provide shipping services. This information can be used to create false identities, allowing defendants to disguise themselves as legitimate haulers. The virtual world is making it increasingly easy for these defendants to commit property crimes.

These actions are likely to have far-reaching consequences, not only for the trucking industry, but also for consumers, who may see the price of common goods rise because of the massive losses. The damages from these alleged thefts tend to cost more than the value of the items themselves. For example, a stolen lot of prescription drugs could cause a national recall to prevent the potentially tainted pharmaceuticals from hitting the market. In addition, food that spoils because it was improperly handled by unqualified drivers can lead to massive health problems for large populations.

Defendants who have been accused of property crimes related to the trucking industry are not automatically considered guilty, no matter what the charges. These defendants deserve a fair trial through the criminal justice system, which guarantees these individuals an important set of rights. Criminal defense attorneys can help protect these rights throughout California criminal proceedings.

Source: www.timesfreepress.com, "Thieves pose as truckers to steal huge cargo loads" No author given, Oct. 22, 2013

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