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Poor Inventory Management May Lead to Major Losses

Posted by Sean Murphy on Dec 7, 2017

Many businesses utilize inventory management to keep track of assets at distribution centers and logistics hubs. Large-scale food heists have increased dramatically in the last few years. Interestingly enough, there are more food and beverage-related thefts in the United States than electronics crimes.

California’s highest stolen commodity is nuts. In a six-month span, more than 30 truckloads of nuts, valued at over $10 million USD, were stolen.

Food heists were once operated and executed on a much smaller scale. Thieves would steal a bucket’s worth of nuts from an orchard and sell it at a farmers’ market. That is not the case today. Criminals now target the cargo of large semi trucks. Nuts are attractive because of their long shelf life, high cost and their inability to be electronically tagged or traced.

A semi truck filled with nuts would not raise too many suspicions in California, since the state grows 80% of the world’s almond supply. If a truck carrying nuts is pulled over, it would be difficult to prove if the cargo was stolen.

Food heists are based on fraud and poor inventory management, rather than force. Authorities studied networks of food heist criminals. These individuals have an understanding of logistics, inventory management and distribution between providers, processors, and buyers.

Thieves infiltrate the logistics industry by falsifying information. It’s a very elaborate process that includes creating fake companies, altering paperwork, and diverting cargo shipments. Legally-placed orders are delivered to criminals. In many cases, truck drivers do not know they are involved in food heists.

In one year, 28 reported fraud-based food heists were reported. The value of the stolen goods was estimated at $4 million USD.

Lawmakers in California introduced a bill into legislation to fund efforts that would combat food heist operations.

None of the victims are Stealth clients.

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