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Violent heist at cargo depot near Port of L.A. the work of sophisticated gang, detectives say

http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/greenspace/images/2008/09/05/los_angeles_port.jpg

It began with a man posing as a lost driver asking for directions from a security guard outside a cargo depot in Wilmington.

Within seconds, the guard on duty Sunday night discovered it was a ruse, detectives said. As he stepped outside the cargo depot to give directions, two other men overpowered him and hit him in the face. They warned him they were armed and prepared to use their weapons.

A small fleet of big rigs pulled into the yard and with military precision began hauling three loaded trailers away from the depot near the Port of L.A.

“It appeared they were looking for specific trailers,” said Los Angeles Police Lt. John Pasquariello.

Investigators say the crime known as a “terminal robbery” is typically done by organized gangs and is one of the ways cargo thieves make off with merchandise valued at more than $10 billion annually nationwide. The Los Angeles area has long been an epicenter of cargo crime with the LAPD, L.A. County Sheriff’s Department and California Highway Patrol all operating special teams of investigators to combat it.

Click for an interactive map of crime in Wilmington In Sunday night’s heist at 1000 Farragut Ave., the assailants hustled the security guard and another employee into an office, where they bound and gagged them. With the employees secured, several big rigs began hooking up trailers.

Detectives said the thieves stole a white Freightliner with a Tennessee license plate of T716959, a blue '90s Peterbilt with a Maine license plate 2332123, and a green '90s Peterbilt with a Tennessee license plate of T950491.

They did not disclose the contents of the trailers.

Eventually the security guard and employee, one of them a woman, were discovered and taken to a Long Beach hospital with minor to moderate injuries.

Detectives said they are also looking for a big rig and two other trailers stolen earlier that day about 6 p.m. Thieves got away with a white Mack tractor with a California license plate number of 9E35712 and two additional trailers with Tennessee plates T771784 and U054162. It is unclear if the thefts were related to the robbery. Anyone with information regarding this case is asked to call Commercial Crimes Division, Cargo Hijack Unit at (213) 485-2507.

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--Richard Winton

Photo: Cargo at the Port of Los Angeles. Credit: Los Angeles Times

Map: Shows crime reported in the 1000 block of Farragut Avenue on Sunday night. Source: Crime L.A.

 
Comments () | Archives (22)

Are there no security cameras? No descriptions of the perpetrators? No idea what was in the containers? I thought we had made port security a priority after 9/11.

This is why the L.A. Port Authority should have TSA, ICE, and ATF agents permanently posted at all Port entrances and exits.

The Port Authority should never have caved into the Longshoremen's demands and allowed them to aide in the security of the ports.

In fact, the Port tried to replace all Longshoremen with federal workers to insure security after 9/11, but they picketed, protested, and striked for a month... and eventually go their way after bringing the Port to a standstill.

Unbelievable...

My concern is - what was in those trailers? If it this easy to just steal stuff from the port --we should know what was in them.

As far as I can tell, this event did not occur at the Port. It happened at an "off dock" storage yard usually operated by logistics and trucking companies.

ahhhh, the holiday season is upon us.

This sounds like a scene from season two of "The Wire."

Nice to see Homeland Security is really a joke and everything we go through at the airport is for nothing. When the ports are open for anything we are just pretending to care.

They contained IPads and IPhones.

Please read the headline, if not the article. It was not in the port.

"Eventually the security guard and employee, of them a woman,"

Oh no, not of them a woman!

Something very valuable cause they went through all that planning and risk

@ Jon S -- thanks for that! We've fixed the confusion.

just in time for Christmas! probably took truck loads of electronic goods...everyone be on the lookout for $100 blue ray players, $200 tv's etc.. cant believe how easy it is for people to steal stuff! WOW...
and illegal immigrants are the bad guy??

So what you're saying is that they're be some nice flat screen tv's at bargain prices on the streets

Why is there no description of the assailants in addition to the license plates? Logically you would think they would offer one given that there were multiple witnesses and/or victims involved.

Sounds like good deals on eBay and Craigslist will come just in time for the Holiday Season! Ohhh brother!!
Look for the police to "monitor" the papers and online sales sites for the stolen goods. The Perps will likely use "direct marketing"


Hello Apple iPads and iPhones! There's one for everybody!

i guess the thieves know how to disable the gps tracking thingies the trailers have too.

Can you spell "inside job"?

@Louweegie272 The terminals do have security cameras. Some have better systems than others. Some have very wide angle shots and probably would not have been much of a help anyway. Besides, this was an "off-dock" facility, not even considered to be in the port. @ S.G. This facility if you want to call it that has nothing to do with longshoremen or anyone that works in the port. It is basically a dirt lot with containers and other junk in it. @bill These ocean going containers have no type of gps tracking system whatsoever. They definitely kn0w what the contents were...inside job

Council-idiot Janice Hahn obviously looked the other way so her gang member buddies could pull this off.

Looks like Best Buys will be a few Flat Screens short this Xmas season...gotta love those "rent a cops".


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