As mentioned, some scholars and experts include cargo theft as an element of organized retail crime while others do not. It is nonetheless of value to note how retail goods are vulnerable to criminals at various points throughout the supply chain. Further, goods that are stolen from either cargo trucks or from retail stores may be fenced by criminals for a profit and both affect society’s economy, public health, and domestic security.
Because trains and trucks of cargo often travel with large quantities of desirable products, some have suggested that this presents a low-risk, high-reward situation appealing to criminals. Thieves use a variety of methods to obtain merchandise from cargo. These methods can range from hijacking entire trucks to colluding with current or former employees. These criminals may break or compromise security locks on trucks (possibly with the aid of security codes provided by dishonest employees) to remove entire boxes of desired goods. Other times, they may pilfer cargo boxes of their goods and then re-seal them so the boxes appear as though they have not been tampered with.