Thieves broke into a truck parked in a hotel lot and made off with a large shipping crate. They were probably expecting a typical haul of consumer goods like video game players or expensive wine, which could be profitably unloaded to unscrupulous purchasers. Their pleasure at the easy getaway quickly turned to dismay when they discovered the contents. When the thieves opened the crate, they were faced with a masterpiece. A $1 million Goya painting created in 1778, to be precise. The art was being shipped from an Ohio museum to an exhibition in New York. This story may have had a tragic conclusion. In this case, instead of trying to fence the stolen artwork, the thieves used a go-between to alert police about where to recover the undamaged canvas.

The uncommon ending to this tale occurred two years ago. Unfortunately, recoveries like this are rare, and truck cargo theft is a category of crime that continues to rise. According to the National Cargo Security Council, cargo theft is estimated to account for up to $25 billion in direct merchandise losses each year. It is a cost that neither businesses nor insurers can afford, especially in today’s shrinking economy.

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