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IIS Cargo Theft Annual Report Now Available

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BIGGEST RECORDED LOSS OF 2021

DIAMONDS AREN’T FOREVER FOR GANG WHICH STOLE €50 MILLION OF PRECIOUS STONES AND GOLD FROM A FACILITY IN AMSTERDAM

Cargo theft data for incidents in the Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) region reported to TAPA’s Incident Information Service (IIS) in May included the highest value crime of the year so far, the theft of €50,000,000 of gold and diamonds from a facility in Amsterdam in the Netherlands on 19 May.

The crime was made even more high profile as the robbery and subsequent police chase was captured on film by a neighbour living next to the targeted building and other members of the public which was shared on Dutch media.

According to the IIS incident description, in the early afternoon of 19 May, masked men with machine guns jumped out of cars outside the premises of a leading precious metals trading company to attack an armoured truck. Photographs taken by local residents show one of the robbers standing guard and firing several shots into the air.

Escaping the scene, the offenders headed north on the N247 provincial road, with Dutch police in hot pursuit by road and in the air using a police helicopter. Reports said shots were fired between law enforcement officers and the robbers, who ended up in Broek in Waterland in the province of North Holland. One media report quoted a local resident who claimed the suspects were racing along bicycle paths at 60-70kph. One of their getaway cars came to an abrupt stop after crashing through a fence into a garden and ramming into a tree. Images from the property’s security camera showed the suspects jumping out of the car and fleeing into the adjacent meadow. Two other vehicles used by the robbers are believed to have been set on fire as the thieves tried to escape on foot.

Police confirmed one suspect was killed and six others were arrested, two of which were wounded. An eighth person was arrested a few hours later on the A16 near Rotterdam.

The €50m haul was recovered and by 21.00hrs had been transferred to an unknown safe location onboard a police truck.

The loot worth about 50 million euros was transferred to a safe location around 9 p.m. last night. A police truck, secured by armoured police cars, transported the gold and diamonds to the unknown location.

This was one of only two major cargo crimes with reported values of €100,000 or more recorded by TAPA EMEA in May.

€300,000

According to the other high value loss report, four staff were arrested for stealing luxury clothing from a logistics facility in Nogarole Rocca in the Italian region of Veneto, also on 19 May.

The staff would allegedly hide garments on their person or in their backpacks to remove them from the site at the end of their shifts. Police officers alerted to the losses searched the suspects’ homes and recovered €300,000 worth of stolen goods. Four other members of staff were being sought as part of the police investigation, as Vigilant went to press.

Sadly, May’s incident reports to TAPA’s IIS also included reports of two more fatalities in EMEA.

On 15 May, a truck driver was stabbed in the chest as thieves stole goods from a trailer in Le Translay, in the Hauts-de-France region of France. The driver died of his wounds at the scene. Two days later, TAPA EMEA also received a report of a migrant being found dead in the back of a truck. Police believe the migrant boarded the vehicle in the Port of Tunis and arrived in Civitavecchia before the onward journey to Pontina.

To date, TAPA’s IIS has received reports of 161 cargo theft incidents in May, producing a total loss value of €50,495,835 or an average for the 15 or 9.3% of crimes stating a value of €3,366,389. Vigilant is unable to report any intelligence on a high number of cases recorded during the month, although TAPA EMEA members can view and search all of the information in the password-protected IIS database.

There were only two crimes in the €50K-€100K loss category by the time this issue of Vigilant went to press. These included the theft of €50,000 of carbon bicycle frames stolen from an Origin Facility in northeastern Italy on 12 May.

In the 31 days of the month, cargo crimes were reported in 18 countries across the EMEA region, including the top five of:

  • United Kingdom - 58 incidents, 36% of the monthly total
  • Spain - 31 or 19.3%
  • Germany - 14 or 8.7%
  • South Africa - 14 or 8.7%
  • Denmark 11 or 6.8%

These countries were followed by France with 9 incidents (5.6%), Italy with 8 (5%) and Belgium with 4 (2.5%).

Losses were recorded in 12 IIS product categories. In 125 or 77.6% of these crimes, the goods stolen were recorded as miscellaneous or unspecified. Outside of this group, the top five product types targeted by criminals in May were:

  • Food & Drink – 7 incidents (4.4% of all crimes)
  • Tobacco – 5 (3.3%)
  • Cash – 4 (2.6%)
  • No Load (Theft of truck and/or trailer) – 4 (2.6%)
  • Clothing & Footwear – 3 (1.8%)

Five IIS type of incident categories saw double-digit incident rates:

  • Theft from Vehicle – 53 or 32.9%
  • Theft from Trailer – 33 or 20.5%
  • Theft of Vehicle – 23 or 14.3%
  • Robbery – 14 or 8.7%
  • Hijacking – 10 or 6.2%

Outside of the 61 or 37.5% of crimes where the type of location was unknown, two locations accounted for 49% of the remaining incidents:

  • Unclassified Parking Location –47 (29.2%)
  • Destination Facility – 32 (19.8%)

During this reporting month, TAPA’s IIS was notified of 22 crimes with the M.O. of Violent & Threat with Violence, 13.6% of the May total.

Incident reports over the course of the month also included:

  • On 1 May, offenders hijacked two trucks en route in Johannesburg, South Africa, before using petrol bombs to torch both vehicles. On 5 May, TAPA received a report of a further vehicle being set on fire at an unclassified parking location in South Africa.
  • Armed thieves travelling in two cars fired shots at the driver of a cash-in-transit vehicle and its security escort in Mbombela in South Africa’s Mpumalanga province on 6 May.
  • A quick-thinking lorry driver transporting a shipment of tobacco products in Lytham, Lancashire in the UK on 8 May, contacted police after noticing he was being followed by a van. Police carried out a real-time ANPR (Automatic Number Plate Recognition) check and identified the van was using cloned licence plates. Police officers dispatched to the scene arrested two people and seized the van.
  • On 21 May, a cash-in-transit van en route in Brakpan in South Africa’s Gauteng province was struck by a car before being attacked by nine men, who used explosives to blow open the vehicle’s security doors.

Clandestine intrusion remained a frequent risk for trucks and drivers in the region. In two reports to TAPA’s IIS in May, 12 migrants were found in the back of a truck in La Seyne-sur-Mer in France and, in a separate incident, Romanian police intercepted 20 migrants who were attempting to cross the country’s western border in a truck.

If you see news reports of cargo crimes in the EMEA region, please forward the link to iis@tapaemea.org

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