Monday, July 15, 2024
Facebook Marketplace is the 2023 version of a car trunk full of stolen goods - now, when a consumer product "falls off of a truck," it probably lands at an online market. Photo: Facebook
On the Road with Mike MurchisonOpinion/ColumnTrucking

Stolen goods from stolen trailers

Ah yes! The underground “black market” of hot goods. Stolen stuff. It’s thriving and as hot as ever – at least, it was in Peel Region until July 19th

Operation “Big Rig” put a stop to what we now know was a ring involving 15 individuals. Possibly more. But 15 were charged. Its probably not the end; just an interruption in a trade that will kick back up down the road when things cool down.

Myself, I’ve spent many days and nights visiting, working, and slumbering within the borders of Peel County. Never had any problems unless you count the slow lines at the Tim Hortons.

Occasionally I was approached by a very ambitious individual who just happened to have a “trunk load” of items that he/she was selling at ridiculously low prices. Insert red flag here.

Speakers, tools, iPads, even clothing such as work gloves, socks, and winter hats.

Did someone lose a trailor full of weighted blankets? They are all over Facebook Marketplace, listed as “$1.00” or even free. More likely, they are just hot. Photo: Facebook

A “’deal of a lifetime,” they would tell me. Cash only. So persistent, they would be almost to the point of getting frustrated and downright angry if I didn’t buy something.

I always walked away from the trunk load of deals, simply because my gut told me that something was amiss. Nobody sells new merchandise out of their trunk at truck stops at 9pm at night. Unless…! It’s hot.

For the longest time big flat screens were the go-to item. Before that it was laptops. Before that phone chargers. And before that, many years before it was “boom boxes.”

Operation Big Rig is nothing new. These types of joint enforcement stings have been going on for years, often with good results depending on what side of the law you’re on.

Personally, I’d love a break on pricing, but I’m not too comfortable with purchasing stolen goods out of the trunk of a car or van. So maybe I’m the sucker for not participating. But I do sleep well at night. Besides, I’ve never been one to needed to have the latest and greatest new gadget for a hot deal. I don’t do the Black Friday thing.

The underground market is thriving. Always has. Always will. Inflation, high taxes, etc. have over the centuries created the “need” for it. It will always be around.

The unfortunate thing is that with the increase in consumers participating in these underground markets is that one may grab a flat screen TV for an unthinkable low price, they will end up in the long run paying overall higher insurance premiums, higher prices for legit consumer goods, and know that in some way they are helping organized crime continue to grow.

The choice is up to the consumer. But from where I stand and my experience with trucking insurance, I’d just prefer to stay away from the incredible late-night deals of a lifetime.