NEW YORK — The Thursday discovery at a Pennsylvania highway rest stop of the three trucks that had been used in a May heist of Warnaco goods — emptied of the $1.2 million in Chaps Ralph Lauren sportswear they had contained — brought to light an increase in major cargo theft that is challenging security experts.

Officials at transportation firms saidtheft of cargo is a huge racket in the U.S., estimated to cost businesses from $10 billion to $30 billion a year. It’s also a growing problem — one source estimated that in recent years, the value of goods stolen has been growing by 30 percent a year.

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