Retailers across America wouldn’t survive without the help of interstate cargo lines. Shipping and cargo delivery form the backbone of any distribution operation. People can purchase products from the other side of the country or world thanks to these deliveries.
But while truckers and shipment companies have helped keep retailers stocked, they’ve also become big targets for theft in recent years. A report found that as of May 2023, cargo theft increased by 41% from last year. For this year alone, there were 125 recorded cargo theft incidents. The report also found that the top three states where cargo theft happened were California, Texas and Florida.
You might think that cargo theft is a victimless crime. What’s the loss of several stocks to a business that can easily replace goods? However, Florida has severe penalties for anyone caught stealing cargo.
State law on cargo theft
Florida considers cargo theft a criminal felony. The degree of the crime and its penalties are dependent on how much was stolen:
- Cargo valued at $50,000 or more: The offender commits grand theft of the first degree. They face a first-degree felony conviction, which carries a $10,000 fine and a 30-year prison sentence.
- Cargo valued at less than $50,000: The offender commits grand theft in the second degree. As a second-degree felony, a conviction leads to a $10,000 fine and a maximum 15-year prison sentence.
Stealing from a major retailer’s cargo might not hurt anyone else but the big businesses. But cargo theft is a serious crime with grave consequences. On top of fines and jail time, you also get a conviction record that hurts your future employment, education, financial and home-purchasing opportunities. Consider fighting the accusations in court if you face cargo theft charges.