HANCOCK COUNTY, MS (WLOX) - This may come as a surprise to you, but thefts of 18-wheelers has risen by 30 percent over the past three years. According to the National Insurance Crime Bureau, every 23 seconds an automobile is stolen in the U.S.
One Hancock County truck driver recently became one of the latest statistics and he's offering a $1,000 reward for information leading to the recovery of his stolen 18-wheeler.
Ken Shipman says a week ago Sunday someone drove off with his livelihood.
"The truck was un-hooked from the trailer left the load sitting there and the truck was gone," Shipman recalled.
The 2003 Freightliner Classic was parked next to Cody's Junction, which is a closed gas station at the intersection of Highways 603 and 43 in the Kiln.
Shipman says the trailer, loaded with frozen cargo, was left behind.
"It was loaded with a load of chickens loaded in Alabama headed to New Orleans port . I figure someone knew what my schedule was on the weekends because I park the trucks there each weekend so I can look after the trucks we run refrigerated units and I have to keep a close eye on the trucks in case the unit breaks down," Shipman explained.
Shipman says the thief or thieves broke into the truck through a small oval window on the passenger side door. He says the rubber seal from the window was found on the ground near where the truck was parked.
"I feel the only way I can get my truck back is maybe someone in the public seen something would notify me or the sheriff's department," Shipman said.
Sheriff's investigators say they have few leads in the case, but they say the rig has been entered in the FBI's National Crime Information Center.
"It takes quite a hunk of money out of my pocket each week," he said.
The independent truck owner operator had no insurance on his truck.
"I usually keep insurance on the truck, but I was in the process of changing companies I was hauling for, And the company I'm leasing with now doesn't have fleet insurance for physical damage so I was going to have to get it on my own. I got caught between the gap," he added. "It really hurt me hard it hurt me hard."
Truck description: black, headache rack on back, has 1302 on rear end, has J & W Transport on side of cab. Contact Hancock County Sheriff's Department if you have any information
228-806-5824 or 228-216-1193.