Cargo heists a growing million-dollar problem in South Florida

Posted at 9:31 AM, Dec 01, 2017
and last updated 2017-12-01 09:31:42-05

It's a growing problem in South Florida – thieves stealing large shipping containers from businesses filled with thousands of dollars in merchandise.

The latest heist happened at Exist, a large clothing manufacturer on NW 23rd Avenue in Fort Lauderdale. Surveillance videos captured three men breaking the gate open this month and using a truck to cart off a shipping container filled with 900 boxes of clothes. The retail value of the stolen items was worth more than $1 million.

"We’re very frustrated and upset," said general manager Stephen Feldschuh.

"They knew what they were doing, they scoped out our facility, they had some level of insider information as to what was going on," said Feldschuh.

The company is working with Crime Stoppers to offer a $15,000 reward if a tip  leads to an arrest or the merchandise.

South Florida is one of the top spots for cargo thefts in the country. If the cargo isn't stolen here, police say it's often sent to South Florida to be resold or exported.

An NBC 6 Investigation in 2016 found more food cargo containers are getting stolen than anything else. That's because it's easier to resell and harder to track – everything from stolen shrimp to tuna.

As for the clothing company, they're hoping detectives can track down the merchandise before it's resold on the black market.

"We have a huge number of people that rely on us to be able to give them a pay check every two weeks and this hurts us," said Feldschuh.

This story is from our news partners at NBC Miami.