For company owner’s, finding the right people for the job of driving a truck is hard enough with all the training regulations, drug clearinghouse checks, MVR reviews, and DAC reports requests. Now it seems they have to worry about unsavory characters making through the hurdles and stealing the trucks they are assigned and stripping them for parts.
It is not good news for owners when thieves learn they can strip a truck for a year’s worth of wages
I had a feeling this was going to happen sooner or later. When the media goes on talking about how expensive and rare an item is, thieves go after said item.
Over the summer, vandals targeted the CPC4 modules inside Daimler-branded trucks, like the Freightliner Cascadia and Western Star 57X. These modules are being resold online for around $3,000 and the top price is $7,500.
Michael Jamal Walker is “allegedly” taking things a big step further. According to an article on Overdrive, he is not just working with others to get to the CPC4 module, his team is stripping the whole truck.
Walker was moving fast, having multiple companies lined up for theft
AD Transport Express, based in Canton, Michigan, was a recent victim of Walker’s. They were lucky to recover the shell of their truck, a 2020 Kenworth T680, fully gutted of electronics, transmission, engine, and that highly expensive diesel fuel.
While AD Transport Express was looking for their truck, Walker had moved on to his next victim, John Christner Trucking in Sapulpa, Oklahoma. They too suffered Walker’s wrath, having their truck go off the radar.
JCT recovered their truck, again stripped to the bone. A GPS unit hidden in the sleeper compartment was able to call for help, either undetected or avoided by the vandals.
While JCT was working to recover their truck, Walker had moved on to an unnamed company in Indiana. This company, however, had pulled Walker’s DAC report and called AD Transport for a reference, and oh, boy did they give one.
It seems police are not too interested in helping stop these thefts
AD Transport filed a police report with local authorities in Michigan, also consulted the FBI and Attorney General’s office, and got in touch with authorities in Baltimore, all to no avail. Even with Walker’s given address, they could not get police to do a house call.
Because fleets are handing the keys off to Walker, it’s not technically a matter of grand theft auto when the trucks never return. Without any other recourse, AD Transport went to the press to hope to get awareness on the issue.
JCT turned over a recording of a call to Overdrive.com that they had with Walker, who brazenly mocked the company. “I got brains enough to get a truck off your lot, and y’all will never see that truck again. Don’t play with me, I’m the wrong [expletive] to play with.”
AD Transport has begun criminal background checks on new applicants in wake of this event. They use Lytx in-cab cameras and GPS devices, both easily removed from the truck. The ECM will continue to ping the location through PACCAR’s fleet monitoring system, but once the batteries are removed, that system will not be able to locate the missing truck.