LOUISVILLE, KY (WDRB) -- Hijacking big trucks and their valuable cargo is a problem you may not have heard much about.
But it was big enough for the state of Kentucky to take legislative action because it had an impact on the city's largest employer.
"This bill has many names but what we are talking about is piracy," says the secretary for the Kentucky Justice Cabinet, J. Michael Brown.
Brown was describing what has been the growing problem of criminals stealing trucks for their valuable cargo.
The thieves have mostly been targeting shipments of expensive pharmaceuticals and high tech products like cell phones and laptops.
"A new breed of criminals has been targeting trucks, hijacking them and stealing the cargo," says Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear in Louisville to take part in a ceremonial signing of House Bill 161, known as the Cargo Security Bill.
The hijackings are a problem Louisville's largest employer, UPS wants law enforcement agencies to do something about.
"Here in Kentucky there is organized theft groups," says Steve Hamm who is in charge of security for UPS Supply Chain which warehouses and ships products for many companies. "What we want to do is make Kentucky a safe haven for our customers and employees."
UPS worked with state lawmakers to get legislation passed that would increase the penalties for stolen cargo.
"It gives Kentucky law enforcement authorities a stronger tool to target these crimes" says Beshear.
The new legislation was sponsored by Kentucky State Representative Denny Butler who says the new law is good for UPS, Louisville's largest employer.
"Our community and the Commonwealth are poised to become a national leader in cargo shipping, hauling and logistics," says Butler, "House Bill 161 will help protect the industry."
Wednesday afternoon news conference took place at the UPS Supply Chain Solutions complex in South Louisville on the Outer Loop.
It is a series of giant warehouses where UPS ships products stored here from other companies to all over the world through the UPS Worldport.
Under the new law, maximum penalties for people convicted of truck theft jump from the current five years in prison to up to 20 years.