Truck and trailer used by the suspect to steal approximately $230,000 worth of beef from JBS meat packing plant. Photo supplied by Brooks RCMP.

From beef and hot tubs to shellfish, cargo theft a growing concern in Canada

Household items, including food, are the most common type of stolen cargo

People may have found it odd when thieves made off with truckloads of hot tubs and beef within days of each other in rural Alberta, but the Insurance Bureau of Canada says it highlights a growing type of crime perpetrated by sophisticated culprits.

“It’s obviously not a new problem. But from what we’re seeing in the statistics, the problem seems to be getting worse,” said Sid Kingma, who directs the bureau’s investigative services arm in Western Canada.

Last year, $35 million in cargo theft losses were reported to the bureau, compared to $2.1 million five years earlier.

In 2014, when the bureau started compiling cargo theft statistics, $270,000 in stolen cargo was recovered. In 2019, that figure was $14 million.

Kingma cautioned that the bureau’s numbers reflect only a small snapshot of the problem based on reports it receives.

The Canadian Trucking Alliance has put total losses from cargo theft at $5 billion a year.

RCMP have linked the same phoney Quebec trucking company — Transport Pascal Charland — to the Aug. 30 theft of $230,000 worth of beef from a Brooks, Alta., beef-packing plant and the Sept. 2 theft of seven hot tubs from a manufacturer in Thorsby, southwest of Edmonton.

“You can see that there was some work put into getting the proper documentation and having everything in place for that theft in order to be able to occur,” said Kingma, a former Edmonton police officer.

“So there’s some organization involved.”

READ MORE: Hot tubs and meat: Alberta RCMP investigating heists by trucks with bogus papers

Household items, including food, are the most common type of stolen cargo, and most of it can’t be traced with serial numbers, said Kingma. He said he’s heard of trailers of toilet paper, nuts and tires being lifted.

A lot of the hot merchandise is the kind that can be easily and quickly sold in settings where there’s little oversight, like small shops or swap meets.

“Obviously there’s people out there that maybe don’t have great scruples,” Kingma said.

The back-to-back hot tub and beef heists weren’t the only crimes of this kind in Canada recently.

Mounties in New Brunswick said in June that four tractor trailers filled with snow crab disappeared from two trucking terminals in Moncton.

The Guelph Mercury in southwestern Ontario reported last year that a transport truck filled with cold cuts was stolen from a local meat-processing plant and that police believed the alleged thieves showed fake documents before making off with the meat.

Lauren Krugel, The Canadian Press


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism during the pandemic? Make a donation here.

theft

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

There were 410 COVID-19 cases recorded in Alberta Wednesday. (File photo)
Alberta records 410 COVID-19 cases Wednesday

Central zone dropped to 160 active cases

Shaun Isaac, owner of Woodchucker Firewood in Trochu, is awaiting a new shipment during a firewood shortage in the province. All of the wood he has left is being saved for long-time customers who need it to heat their homes. (Contributed photo).
Firewood shortage in central Alberta caused by rising demand, gaps in supply

‘I’ve said “No” to more people than ever’: firewood seller

file photo
Maskwacis RCMP investigate pedestrian fatality

Collision on Highway 2A causing fatality still under investigation.

Shaela Dansereau/ The Pipestone Flyer
City of Wetaskiwin cases rapidly climbing

City of Wetaskiwin reporting 11 active cases of COVID-19

Royal Alexandra Hospital front-line workers walk a picket line after walking off the job in a wildcat strike in Edmonton, on Monday, October 26, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Alberta labour board orders health-care staff who walked off the job to go back to work

Finance Minister Travis Toews said in a news release that he was pleased with the labour board’s decision

Husky Energy logo is shown at the company’s annual meeting in Calgary on May 5, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
Husky pipeline spills 900,000 litres of produced water in northwestern Alberta

The energy regulator says environmental contractors are at the site

A raccoon paid a visit to a Toronto Tim Hortons on Oct. 22, 2020. (shecallsmedrew/Twitter)
Who are you calling a trash panda? Raccoon takes a shift at Toronto Tim Hortons

Tim Hortons said animal control was called as soon they saw the surprise visitor

Sharon Hickin, general manager of the Days Inn Sylvan Lake and the new Lake House Diner, poses for a photo outside the new restaurant. Photo by Megan Roth/Sylvan Lake News
Pandemic puts extra hurdles in place for new Sylvan Lake businesses

Over the past seven months numerous new businesses have opened in Sylvan Lake, despite the pandemic

Rachel Notley, leader of Alberta’s official Opposition, speaks in Edmonton on Wednesday, Oct. 16, 2019. Notley says the government needs to sharply ramp up the number of contact tracers if it wants to get a handle on the rising number of COVID-19 cases. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Alberta Opposition calls for more COVID-19 contact tracers as case numbers rise

Alberta has about 800 tracers, and chief medical health officer Dr. Hinshaw says more are being recruited

Royal Alexandra Hospital front-line workers walk a picket line after walking off the job in a wildcat strike in Edmonton, on Monday, October 26, 2020. Hospital and health-care workers who staged a one-day illegal walkout returned to work Tuesday while politicians swapped recriminations and accusations in the house over the dispute. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Alberta health staff return to work, surgeries resume after one-day walkout

AHS estimated 157 non-emergency surgeries, most of them in Edmonton, had to be postponed as a result of the walkout

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau makes his way to provide an update on the COVID pandemic in Ottawa on Tuesday, Oct. 27, 2020. Canada has reached a grim milestone in the COVID-19 pandemic, surpassing 10,000 novel coronavirus deaths. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Alberta COVID deaths pushes Canada past milestone of 10,000 deaths

Canada crossed the threshold of 5,000 deaths on May 12, a little over two months after the first was reported

Cases in Ponoka (East Ponoka County) as of Oct. 27. (alberta.ca)
Diagnosed cases of COVID-19 at three Ponoka businesses

Town ‘strongly encouraging’ residents to wear non-medical masks in public

Most Read