March 12, 2018 3:00 PM, EDT
California Highway Patrol Program Catches L.A. Cargo Crooks
Suspected theft crew arrested in L.A. County Getty Images

The California Highway Patrol Cargo Theft Interdiction Program in February arrested 15 members of a suspected theft crew in Los Angeles County following a seven-month investigation of organized commercial burglary. The total value of the stolen cargo was more than $1 million.

Those arrested are alleged to have spent their days driving through industrial areas looking for merchandise, according to CTIP. At night they would return to likely spots, cutting holes into warehouse doors and loading stolen products into vans. Some businesses made the suspects’ jobs easier by leaving pallets of merchandise outside for quick pickup and delivery.

The thieves targeted boxes of clothing, shoes, cosmetics and electronics and sold some of the merchandise to a Long Beach, Calif., couple.

The CTIP said it expects to make more arrests in the case. The suspects were charged with grand theft and possession of stolen property.

California formed the CTIP program in 1994. Security directors from such organizations as the Western States Cargo Theft Association, California Trucking Association and National Cargo and Security Council Transportation meet with law enforcement monthly to discuss recent trends, losses, suspects and active investigations.