After last year marked a notable drop in the value of pharmaceutical thefts, recent data indicates that those Soprano wanna-bees are having a banner year in 2013. So far, some $3.3 million in cargo thefts have occurred, which works out to an average of $172,500 for each heist.
For all of last year, however, the amount of pharmaceuticals that were swiped amounted to slightly more than $3.1 million, or $148,000 on average, according to FreightWatch International, a logistics security provider that tracks commodity thefts.
The rate suggests a decided rebound is under way. Consider that in 2011, a total of $12.7 million in pharmaceuticals were stolen, which works out to an average theft of $555,000. Despite industry efforts to squelch thefts, the numbers suggest thieves are finding new ways to succeed.
The issue has gained notice thanks to the brazen theft three years ago of some $76 million in medicines taken from an Eli Lilly (LLY) warehouse in Connecticut, where the robbers allegedly had inside knowledge of security systems and cut a hole in the roof (read more here). This one robbery increased the total value of thefts that year to $94.7 million, for an average heist of $3.7 million.
Such burglaries are not uncommon, but security experts say the rising number of thefts may suggest a change in tactics. For instance, the latest theft occurred last week when a tractor trailer was stolen from a truck stop in Livingston, Kentucky.
The driver stopped for a bathroom break and when he returned to the parking lot 15 minutes later, everything was gone. Tracking indicated the trailer left the theft site five minutes after stopping, which indicates the shipment may have been followed from origin, according to FreightWatch.
We should note that the value of some thefts is not reported; in other words, the total value of thefts each year is actually higher than data indicates. Also, FreightWatch often includes other items sold by drugmakers – such as vitamins and contact lenses – in its tallies.
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