Truck heists on the rise nationwide - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Truck heists on the rise nationwide

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SPOKANE, Wash. - It's happening nationwide, thieves are taking semi trucks loaded with merchandise. Now, truckers are taking extra measures to keep their goods safe.

Experts saw a huge spike in cargo thefts in 2009. Truckers say it's becoming a big problem.

The majority of thefts reportedly happen at a truck stop when the driver goes to get a bite to eat.

Last year, close to 500 million dollars of goods were stolen from truckers in the U.S. That's a 67 percent increase over the 290 million from 2008. Thieves stole 859 truckloads last year alone.

The cargo most at risk is that from electronics or pharmaceutical companies - items that can sell easily, as consumers are always looking for a good deal

Truckers say their companies even tell them to stay away from certain states because the risk of a heist is too high. Some of those states include Georgia, Texas and Florida.

Trucker drivers also say they're coming up with more ways to protect themselves and their cargo.

Tractor-trailer driver Angela Middleton gives an example of ways truckers are trying to prevent thefts. "A friend of mine actually has a chain that he will strap through his door handles and locks it where there's just little room left on his side to close it, so if they try to open the door they can't even get it all the way open."

The thefts may be related to a down economy, but others could be because of plain carelessness, as drivers leave their rigs unlocked.

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