Three men in two trucks forced a big rig carrying a shipping container onto the right shoulder of the San Gabriel River (605)
Freeway in Whittier early Wednesday, then bound the driver's legs and fled with his truck, authorities said.
The tractor portion of the big rig was recovered shortly after 7 a.m. in Whittier, but the shipment of energy-efficient light bulbs remained missing, said California Highway Patrol Officer Al Perez. The value of the shipment was not immediately disclosed.
The stolen big rig consisted of a white tractor marked RP Trucking and a trailer atop which sat a green China Shipping container. The tractor, California license plate number 9E33217, was discovered abandoned in the 4100 block of San Gabriel River Parkway, Perez said.
The CHP began receiving 911 calls around 1:10 a.m. reporting "a man bound by his legs limping on the right shoulder" of the northbound San Gabriel River Freeway at Whittier Boulevard, CHP Officer Joe Zizi said.
CHP and Whittier police units rushed to the spot and found the victim on the side of the freeway, Zizi said.
Zizi said the driver had just picked up the container and was traveling on the 605 when he was forced over to the right shoulder by a white bobtail truck and a red semi pulling a white trailer.
With their trucks surrounding the victim, the bandits "took his truck by force, tying him up, and leaving him on the right shoulder, then drove away," Zizi said, adding that the victim was not hurt.
The victim said he did not know what was inside the container, Zizi said.
The assailants were described as three men, ages 18 to 25, Zizi said, adding that the case was being investigated as a carjacking and cargo theft.
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"This is not common, not something our office has ever seen," Zizi said. "It's very brazen, and very concerning that something like this is done by force."
Anyone who may have spotted the three trucks pulled to the side of the freeway around the time of the carjacking was urged to call 1-800-TELL-CHP.