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Image of a blue semi with a white 54 foot trailer pulling through an intersection on a city street.

Cargo Criminal Apprehension Team (Cargo CATs)

The mission of the Cargo Criminal Apprehension Team (Cargo CATs) is to reduce cargo theft crimes by apprehending and prosecuting both cargo thieves and their receivers and by returning stolen property to their rightful owners. The mission involves a close working relationship with representatives from the private sector as well as other law enforcement agencies.

image of black and white security camera footage of a large Semi Rig driving through a ro Iron Gate in a back alley of a business. The semi has its lights on and is pulling a long 45 foot white trailer.

Tractor with attached trailer crashing through gates.

picture of a silver large calibur hand gun and an envelope full of what appears to be $100 bills, possibly thousands of dollars recovered from an arrest.

Recovered hand gun and thousands of dollars in cash.

The pro-active approach the Sheriff’s Department has taken in the past with multi-jurisdictional programs to impact the transient career criminal is the same approach that is now being applied to the ever-increasing cargo theft problem throughout Los Angeles County and Southern California by Cargo CATs as a department team.

Dozens of stolen tires recovered inside of a long trailer

Recovered stolen tires.

Reporting a Cargo Theft

First, always report the crime to the law enforcement agency which has jurisdiction. Follow this with the submission of a Cargo CATs Loss Form.

Cargo CATs is one of two cargo theft investigative units in the greater Los Angeles area. The Port of Los Angeles is home to the California Highway Patrol – “Cargo Theft Interdiction Program” – CTIP.

CargoNet and CTIP both operate databases supported by information supplied in the LASD and CHP agency’s Loss Forms. It is important to file a loss report with both Cargo CATs and CTIP to ensure maximum coverage and therefore receive the maximum benefit.

Remember to supply the name and up-to-date contact information for your representative. This person will be the liaison between law enforcement and your company in the event your property and/or vehicles are recovered.

If this is an emergency, call 9 1 1. Or contact your local Sheriff’s Station or police department. To anonymously report a crime, call Los Angeles-Crime Stoppers at 800-222-TIPS or by visiting

Crimestoppers logo. silouette of the L A skyline with the word CRIME on the left and the word Stoppers in a black box under the city. Los Angeles Region. Submit a tip and stay anonymous. download the tips mobile app. 800-222-8477.

Plain clothes deputy is arresting and handcuffing a man in a black shortsleeve shirt and blue denim pants. They are standing on a concrete dock at what appears to be the back of a business or warehouse.

Arrest being made at a warehouse.

Information and Resources

Here are downloadable and printable information on cargo theft and terminology.

Agency Partnerships and Information

CargoNet: provides a layered approach to cargo security with both proactive and reactive deterrence, extensive recovery assistance, coordinated theft communications, and collaborate with law enforcement across the country.

Visit CargoNet for more info:

The Southwest Transportation Security Council (SWTSC): formed to promote a partnership among Transportation Security Management groups and law enforcement to enhance communication and cooperation with a focus on transportation security and cargo theft in Texas and the Southwest area of the United States.

Visit WSCTA for more info:

The Western States Cargo Theft Association: WSCTA was developed to promote methods of training and communication to improve security in the field of transportation. By collecting and publishing educational and statistical materials to further programs for the prevention of theft related losses. Develop and promote security standards and goals.

Visit WSCTA for more info: