The Passing of Walter Beadling

It is with my deepest regret to inform our clients that my dear friend, colleague and business partner, Walter Beadling passed away. The funeral was held near his home in Allentown PA on 10/8/2021.

Walt and I have been close friends for 32 years and business partners for about 12 years in the Cargo Security Alliance. Walt was a truly great guy in every respect. His honesty, integrity and counsel were the backbone of our alliance. He leaves a wife Jan, sons Walter (4) and Charlie, and daughter Alisha. He was our managing partner since the inception of the company. I will be assuming the role of President going forward. CSA will continue to operate as it has for these past 12 years offering consulting services in air, sea and ground cargo and a series of security products designed for these platforms. We also offer design services for those interested in developing a Certified Cargo Screening Facility. If you were in contact with Walt on any project or special orders, please redirect those inquiries to me at 941 575 0243 or by email at

Erik Hoffer

Cargo theft in transit drops to 71% but still a dominant threat

The most significant trend highlighted by the Annual Cargo Theft report for 2020 is the relative shift in the location of thefts, with in-transit incidents and those involving vehicles showing a decline at 71 per cent compared to 87 per cent in 2019, though remaining the most dominant threat, and theft from storage facilities increasing to 25 per cent. The extent of the rise in the latter was variable from region to region, however this trend was reflective of the disruption to supply chains brought about by radical changes to consumer buying patterns as a consequence of the pandemic.

Cargo theft in transit drops to 71 percent but still a dominant threat

Securing the Silk Road: Shipping Sensitive IP into China

Podcast describing a project wherein a CSA client shipped sensitive, high value IT equipment to, and within, the People’s Republic China.  The client was justifiably concerned that its IP, confidential information and trade secrets would be compromised.  CSA developed a protocol to ensure the shipment arrived safely across a long, treacherous and uncertain chain of custody.

Elliot Brazil, host of the “Are You Shipping Me” podcast is joined by Walt Beadling, Matt Brazil, and Erik Hoffer.  Walt is Managing Partner at both the Cargo Security Alliance and Cayuga Partners.  Matt is a Research Fellow at the Jamestown Foundation.  He recently published Chinese Communist Espionage: An Intelligence Primer with co-author Peter Mattis.  Prior to the Jamestown Foundation Matt was involved in cargo theft investigations and intellectual property security in the corporate world.  Erik Hoffer is a Cargo Security Alliance partner and President of CGM Security Solutions Inc. and Rig Secure, Inc., manufacturers of security products and technology designed to mitigate and prevent cargo theft incidents.

America’s Airports: the Threat from Within

Monday, September 23, 2019

The recent indictment of American Airlines mechanic Ahmed Alani on charges of “willfully attempting to damage, destroy, disable and wreck a civil aircraft”, and his alleged ISIS connections, shines a spotlight on a major risk exposure in our airports: employee screening.

Ahmed Alani, American Airlines mechanic accused of tampering with an aircraft, appears in court

“Should people be worried? Hell, yeah,” says Doron Pely, a former aviation security consultant in Israel. “This doesn’t require a suicide bomber. It requires access to an airframe, an aircraft and motivation.”

900,000 people work in the 450 airports under US federal supervision and control, and many are able to bypass traditional screening requirements that passengers must endure.  At the same time, airports, airlines and cargo handlers are under pressure to hire personnel in a tight job market, especially during seasonal peaks, putting pressure on authorities to expedite employee screening.

A House Homeland Security Committee report issued in February, 2017, can be found here.  Since that time, major US airports and air cargo hubs have taken measures to expedite and improve screening procedures, but the threat remains.

Alani entered a “Not Guilty” plea in Miami, FL Federal Court on Friday.

SensiGuard Alert: July 4th Holiday Awareness 2019

Date: 26 June 2019

Location: United States and Canada

Description: Holiday weekends are of notoriously high risk for manufacturers and logistics-related organizations. Organized cargo theft rings in the United States and Canada will be extremely active in the coming days, as more shipments are left unattended for extended periods of time due to the upcoming holiday. This year July 4th falls on a Thursday, meaning that many facilities may be closed on Friday the 5th, resulting in longer stage times and lower security staffing. In July 4th holidays between 2014 – 2018, the SensiGuard™ Supply Chain Intelligence Center (SCIC) recorded 2.5 thefts per day with an average loss value of USD $226,505 which is a theft rate 20% higher and an average loss value 34% higher than thefts throughout the year.

Geographically, Texas (+65%), Ontario (+30%), and Tennessee (+39%) all had significantly higher theft rates during the holiday weekend than throughout the year. Facility Theft (+101%) and Pilferage (+10%) were both more frequently perpetrated over the holiday weekend as well. Within product types, Electronics (avg. value $729,813) and Home & Garden ($81,824) both tie for the most stolen product types over this holiday weekend at 19% each. Electronics beat its normal theft rate by 22% and its average value by 93%, while Home & Garden beat its rate by 33% and its value by 9%.

Recommendation: The SensiGuard SCIC recommends that logistics and security professionals ensure security protocols are up-to-date and in line with industry best practices for both in-transit and warehouse operations. Also, in order to mitigate criminal attempts to exploit cargo at rest, we suggest confirming that a given receiver’s hours of operation for the holiday weekend are consistent with scheduled delivery times and planning for secure parking locations in the event a shipment will have to stop for an extended period of time. Covert GPS tracking and active monitoring of high-value shipments are highly recommended, as they have proven to be the most effective protocols to both mitigate in-transit theft and facilitate successful recovery of stolen product.

In addition, the following guidelines are collectively endorsed by IMUA, PCSC, Travelers Insurance, SWTSC, SETSC, NETSC, the Cargo Security Alliance, and Sensitech:


Steps should be taken to verify the authenticity of all shipment related activity during these periods – particularly any entity which has been engaged to either move or store a shipment. Driver and business verification, prior to releasing any shipment, is paramount.

Communication between drivers and shippers needs to be firmly established and regularly maintained during shipments over these periods. That communication should include driver(s) instruction as to what types of behavior are required and what is not permissible.

Truck stops, highway rest areas and distribution centers are frequent targets for cargo thieves – not only traditionally but more so over holiday periods. For that reason, any location where cargo would either intentionally (or unintentionally) come to rest – even for brief periods of time – should be as secure as possible. Things to consider when selecting a secure area/lot are: controlled access, adequate lighting, congestion, any type of either personal or video surveillance, how long the conveyance will be left unattended, as well as past intelligence of localized cargo theft activity.

If a cargo conveyance must be left unattended for any period of time it should be made as secure as possible. Theft-resistant locking/sealing mechanisms for tractors, trailers and cargo compartments; disabling technology for the vehicle’s power units or trailer movements; parking vehicles and/or cargo compartments in a fashion which make access as difficult as possible – are all things worthy of strong consideration.

If any tracking technology, such as GPS monitoring, that is available for deployment should be used to its fullest extent possible. That would include tracking technology on the conveyance’s power unit, its cargo area (if separate), as well as within the cargo itself.


Conduct a personal inspection of both the outside and inside of your facilities before securing them. Remove/repair anything that would assist a perpetrator in his/her illicit activity. For example: exterior lighting that doesn’t work, gates/doors/windows left unsecured, keys left in forklifts inside, etc.

• Prior to securing a facility for unattended periods check to make sure all alarms, CCTV recording equipment, and any sources of auxiliary power are all in good working order. With anything that is battery powered, those batteries should be tested for effectiveness.

Treat all premises alarms (no matter the number or closeness in frequency) as if they are all actual penetration attempts. Responses should be made accordingly.

Make sure all lists of company individuals responsible for contact, in the event of suspicious activity or emergency, are up to date. All entities that monitor your alarm/access activity need to have access to these up-to-date lists.

Encourage local law enforcement agencies to make extra patrols in the areas where your facilities are located – as well as make it as easy as possible for them to “see” your critical access areas.

Notable thefts over Fourth of July 2014-2018:

• 2014, Florida, Facility Theft of Cell Phones, $451,000
• 2014, Texas, Theft of Full Truckload of Meat, $200,000
• 2015, Nevada, Facility Theft of Computers, $250,000
• 2015, California, Facility Theft of Hard Drives, $381,000
• 2015, Washington, Theft of Full Truckload of Cell Phones, $5,700,000
• 2016, Texas, Theft of Full Truckload of Canned & Dry Goods, $85,000
• 2016, Tennessee, Theft of Full Truckload of Beer, $42,000
• 2017, Wisconsin, Pilferage of pre-release Toys, $328,000
• 2017, California, Theft of Full Truckload of Appliances, $100,000
• 2018, New Jersey, Facility Theft of Cosmetics, $1,000,000
• 2018, Tennessee, Theft of Full Truckload of Canned & Dry Goods, $458,000

SensiGuard™ Supply Chain Intelligence Center • 

Scott Cornell

Heists involving identity theft and other types of fraud are growing part of cargo theft mix

Overdrive Online Todd Dills |January 12, 2017

Imagine you arrive at a facility to pick up a load and, checking in with personnel at the gate, the man in the guard shack looks confused, checks and double-checks his list of impending arrivals, only to tell you you’ve already been there. The load is gone.

It’s a situation that’s become more and more common over the years since the so-called “fictitious pickup” cargo theft mode drew enough attention in supply-chain-security circles to warrant specific attention.

According to a white paper issued in 2013 by the CargoNet firm [with the Cargo Security Alliance], it began to “emerge as a trend around 2005,” growing to account for a significant share of all thefts reported to CargoNet in 2011, with many thefts occurring in California. By 2012, such thefts, sometimes involving thieves’ fraudulent assumption of an existing carrier’s identity, accounted for 8 percent of all thefts reported to CargoNet.

Scott Cornell, 2VP of Transportation and Crime and Theft Specialist at Travelers Insurance, who for years headed the insurance company’s Special Investigations Group devoted to cargo theft, says that straight theft — thieves hitch to a loaded trailer, unload a trailer or otherwise drive away with a full tractor-trailer — remains the most common sort of cargo theft. But these “strategic” thefts, his terminology for the broad category CargoNet IDs as “fictitious pickup,” represent the “fastest-growing method of cargo theft,” Cornell says, accounting today for about 10 percent of thefts nationwide. Most of such thefts are coming from thieves operating inIllinois and Southern California, Cornell adds.

Scott Cornell

Scott Cornell

Since the thefts nearly always have a virtual component, thieves can “can target something no matter where it is,” Cornell says. “Part of the difference” — and the attraction for thieves, no doubt — “is that you can be very selective. You can pick out what you want to target rather than randomly picking out a trailer.”

As the CargoNet white paper illustrates, this relatively new kind of theft is taking advantage of the rise of web-based brokering and the sometimes tenuous nature of broker-carrier relationships on the spot market. “Fictitious pickups have grown alongside the expansion of web-based brokering,” according to the CargoNet report, “the ability to set up fictitious companies and websites, and the availability of high-quality fraudulent driver’s licenses. The just in time (JIT) supply chain management practices have exacerbated the problem by putting a premium on speed at the expense of performing time-consuming due diligence in vetting” carriers by brokers, and company employees by carriers, in some instances.

“Computer-savvy criminals (often former employees of trucking and logistics companies),” the report goes on to predict, “will increasingly turn to this modus operandi because it is less risky than traditional cargo theft.”

Carrier identity theft occurs when a thief impersonates a legitimate carrier, secures a load, picks it up and then disappears. Thieves posing as both brokers and carriers, and in some cases successfully claiming old or even active authorities for themselves, are increasingly using this scam.

“In an identity theft scenario,” says Cornell, a carrier or broker is “dealing directly with the bad guy. You’re hiring the bad guy yourself.” Conversely, in another sort of fictitious pickup, you’re dealing with the good guy. “ABC Trucking agrees to Friday at 1 o’clock to pick up the cargo. Everybody involved in that transaction is who they say they are, but the bad guy finds out about that arrangement.” He then shows early and grabs your load, leading to situations like the hypothetical one starting this piece.

Travelers’ in-house investigative unit is famous for its sting trailer, equipped with hidden cameras, tracking devices, hidden mics and more that law enforcement agencies around the nation have used to bust up the various elements of the organized cargo theft rings operating in hot spots and other areas around the country. Cornell says the enforcement community is beginning to “look at ways to use the sting trailer” to combat the gamut of fictitious-pickup scenarios as well, particularly “if there’s an organized ring concentrating on them in certain areas. We might work with law enforcement to try to get the sting trailer to be used one or two of those loads.”

Otherwise, Cornell and other speakers at’s November Connected 2016 conference encouraged a holistic and preventive approach toward minimizing risk of identity theft and closing other vulnerabilities.

Tactics to minimize straight theft remain prominent in any discussion of cargo theft (with a high-value load, extend your first segment from the origin point before any stop to avoid anyone who may be following you, for instance). But the new threats require better diligence on the part of brokers in vetting carriers they don’t know personally. Double- and triple-check the identities of company reps via phone calls to the legitimate company home. Match phone numbers and other contact/address info on paperwork to home city, state and Department of Transportation ( and the CSA Safety Measurement System) listings for the business.

Carriers can protect their identities by regularly logging into their carrier profile with their DOT-issued PIN and keeping all contact information updated and current, likewise proofing for any unauthorized changed. During the panel on cargo theft, speakers referenced possible vulnerabilities in DOT’s processes, which allow for MCS-150 carrier information form updates in a manner other than online updates using the PIN that carriers are issued to make their online updates. Cases were detailed in which thieves may have utilized such methods to change contact information on a carrier’s profile to go directly to him, for instance, thus enabling him to secure a load as that carrier with a broker.

If you still don’t have a DOT PIN to take control of your registered profile online, follow this link or call (800) 832-5660 for details.

The online update, too, has its vulnerabilities. Once you have your PIN, be careful who you entrust it to, says CargoNet Vice President Sal Marino. While some people might believe FMCSA’s online system is hacked toward carrier identity theft, Marino doesn’t think that’s the case. Too many, he suggests, may just be the result of the PIN being shared too much internally, then getting out to the wrong party through any number of means.  (Queries to FMCSA were not answered in final form in time to include in this report. Overdrive will issue a follow-up when the agency responds.)