Semi Truck Lot

How CPC Modules Became a Hot Ticket Theft Item

If your business depends on trucks to operate, then you need to be aware of a new, costly trend – CPC theft. CPC theft is skyrocketing across the United States, costing businesses thousands of dollars in damages and lost productivity.

Cargo theft and truck theft have always been on the minds of business owners, and they’ve taken steps to protect against those threats. But now, it’s the valuable CPC modules within the trucks that are hot on the black market. Are you doing enough to keep your trucks – and your business – safe?

What is a CPC Module?

A CPC Module, or Common Powertrain Controller, is often referred to as the “brain” of a truck. It controls the truck’s powertrain and other various engine functions. Without it, a vehicle is inoperable.

Why is CPC Theft on the Rise Right Now?

Since COVID, a chip shortage has bottlenecked the process of getting CPCs from manufacturers both foreign and domestic. Suddenly, the demand for computer chips has far outpaced supply, making them a hot commodity and giving rise to the boom of CPC theft.

When it can take months to get a CPC module that’s on backorder, thieves are seizing the opportunity to provide a valuable item – at a huge markup – to a customer base that is desperate to keep their trucks running.

The largest known theft of CPCs occurred in April 2022, when two dozen trucks up for auction in Pennsylvania were hit by CPC thieves. CPC theft is also happening at dealerships, customer terminals, and truck servicing businesses across the country.

We saw the same trend with catalytic converter theft, which has been a big problem for trucking businesses and others that depend on trucks to deliver products or services. While the rate at which CPC theft is being reported continues to grow, it may never be as prevalent as catalytic converter theft. Catalytic converters will always be easier to steal since they’re accessible from outside the vehicle and quicker to turn into cash because of their general application. Though with that said, CPC module theft is proving to have a more detrimental impact on its victims than catalytic converter theft and thus should be taken very seriously.

The uptick in CPC theft is due to an intersection of four factors:

1. Microchip shortage

Since COVID hit in 2020, microchip manufacturers have not been able to keep up with demand. Due to factory closures and other bottlenecks caused by COVID, microchips are in short supply, making them increasingly valuable on the black market. According to Autoworld, the shortage isn’t about to let up anytime soon.

2. Valuable metals in CPC modules

CPC modules and the microchips in them contain precious metals that are highly prized on the black market, including gold, silver, platinum, palladium, copper, and more.

3. Quick and easy to steal

It only takes a couple of minutes and simple tools to steal a CPC module out of a parked truck. Unfortunately for truck owners, thieves leave behind smashed windows, damaged dashboards, and broken wire harnesses in the process.

4. High markup

CPC modules are selling for two to three times their value on the black market. Thieves can get $4,000 to $8,000 for a CPC when a new unit sells for $1,400 to $1,600.

What is the Cost of CPC Theft?

In addition to the cost of replacing the unit itself, a CPC theft could leave you dealing with delays, a drop in productivity and revenue, repair costs for your trucks, and more.

See our “True Cost of CPC Theft” worksheet to calculate the impact a CPC theft incident on your property could have. Or speak directly with a security expert who can help you assess your property’s risk for this and other crimes.