Thieves Are Selling Stolen Goods Online [And They Aren’t Getting Caught]

Stolen lumber for sale on Craigslist, “used” catalytic converters on Facebook Marketplace and construction tools on eBay. In the internet age, it’s never been easier for criminals to sell their loot – and it’s happening in broad daylight, on the same sites where millions of legitimate transactions occur every day.
thieves are selling stolen goods online

These sites claim to monitor for stolen merchandise – and in some cases, that’s not hard to do. If someone is selling a “box never opened” version of a new tool for half the retail price, you don’t need to be Sherlock Holmes to figure it’s stolen.

But with used products, it’s much harder to tell if the item for sale is legitimate or stolen. (How can you tell if a chest of used tools is stolen, or just someone cleaning out their workshop?)

It’s never been easier for criminals to cash in on stolen goods – and that’s having a major impact on criminal activity. In most cases, criminals are not stealing items for personal use. They’re stealing them to flip for quick cash – and if selling stolen items is easy, the motivation for stealing those items goes up. 

thieves are selling stolen goods online

Likewise, if the value of the items increases, it makes them a bigger target for theft. And this is why so many industrial and commercial companies are reporting an upswing in thefts.

The Producer Price Index, an indicator of inflation in the industrial sector, is up 7.3% in the last year – meaning many products and materials are significantly more valuable than a year ago – making them more attractive as theft targets. Some notable statistics within this trend include:

  • Lumber

    Lumber prices have shot up as much as 300% year-over-year, and there is no relief in sight with wildfires in the Pacific Northwest disrupting lumber mills. This guarantees continued lumber shortages and higher prices, which has triggered a rash of thefts from jobsites and lumberyards. In one case, thieves drove a fully loaded trailer of lumber worth $60,000 off a lumberyard lot.

  • Automobiles

    Used cars and trucks are up an astounding 45% year-over-year, thanks to the continued shortage in new cars and trucks. This has helped drive a 9% increase in year-over-year vehicle thefts.  

  • Batteries, Plumbing, and Copper

    Electrical wholesalers, plumbing suppliers and other companies that sell products based on metals like copper and steel (and even PVC) are reporting supply chain backlogs and price escalations. According to the Independent Pipe and Supply Corporation, since January 2020 the price of the hot-rolled coil has escalated by almost 80%, copper has increased by 75%, and steel pipe increased 138% in just the last eight months.

Escalating prices and ease of selling stolen products creates escalated theft risk for companies that work with or sell high-value targets like tools, metals, lumber and cars. Implementing modern, active security surveillance is the best way to protect your business against these trends.

Contact Pro-Vigil to learn more.


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