KSP investigation recovers $5.2 million in cargo theft property

Published 9:51 am Wednesday, December 20, 2023

Gov. Andy Beshear announced Tuesday that over the past 18 months the Kentucky State Police (KSP) Vehicle Investigations Branch has recovered more than $5.2 million in cargo theft property, shutting down an organized theft ring responsible for more than $10 million in theft.

During that 18-month period, the KSP opened 16 cargo theft investigations, resulting in 10 federal indictments and seven arrests.

Cargo theft refers to the unauthorized taking of goods or commodities during transportation.  The KSP says this type of theft can occur at various points in the supply chain, including while the cargo is in transit, at a storage facility or during loading and unloading.

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“Our Kentucky State Police troopers, officers and civilian staff are the best in the nation,” said Gov. Beshear.  “Every day they are making Kentucky safer and creating a better place for our families and children to call home.  I ask that the commonwealth join me in thanking our vehicle investigations branch and pray for their continued safety and protection as they risk their lives for our state.”

The KSP Vehicle Investigations Branch noticed a trend of cargo thefts throughout Kentucky specifically targeting the food and beverage industry and an increase in copper theft incidents. These types of theft utilize electronic crimes, identity theft and manipulation of trucking resources to threaten supply chains. KSP detectives used partnership they have cultivated across the country with local, state and federal agencies to successfully recover several stolen shipments, leading to seven arrests.

“The KSP Vehicle Investigations Branch is a national leader in fighting organized cargo theft crimes,” said KSP Commissioner Phillip Burnett, Jr.  “I’m proud of their efforts to combat a crime that targets high-value shipments by exploiting weaknesses in supply chains, causing substantial financial losses.”

During the Midwest Cargo Security Council Summit, two KSP investigators from the branch, Detective Steve Spurlock and Criminal Intel Analyst Gary Thomas received awards for their investigative accomplishments involving this case.

Thomas stated, “Detective Spurlock and I have focused our efforts on combating cargo theft operations.  We partner with local, state and federal partners across the country to recover property and prosecute those who commit these crimes.  It is rewarding to see them brought to justice and return the property to victims involved.”