Cops recovered nearly $1 million in footwear after a suspected crew in a semi truck hooked up to a trailer and made off with the shoes in Torrance last weekend.

The footwear discovery at a business in the 4400 block of Baldwin Avenue in El Monte was made this week after detectives received a tip about the merchandise, cops said. The theft happened Sunday night when “a chassis container trailer loaded with men’s and women’s footwear, valued at approximately $1 million, was taken from a business yard located in the city of Torrance,” according to a Los Angeles Police Department statement.

LAPD Cargo Hijack Unit Detective Marc Zavala said he couldn't reveal the brand of shoes. But he noted they had a retail value of more than $100 per pair, on average. “They're not real high-end, but they're up there,” he says.

All but one case of 12 pairs was recovered in El Monte, he said. The trailer was found Aug. 8 near Rose Hills Memorial Park in Whittier, he said. “We found the trailer the next day,” Zavala says.

The shoes' destination in El Monte was a warehouse, he said. Investigators aren't immediately clear if those who run the business were involved. “In this case, we're not sure if the guy who had the business was connected,” he says.

Asked if organized crime might have been involved, the detective said it was a possibility. He said crews like the one suspected in this heist often steal semi-trailer trucks, change the business markings on the doors, and back up to goods imported via the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach to hook up to a valuable haul. “Three or four guys will steal trucks and trailers, store the goods, then sell it to people,” Zavala says.

A $1 million haul like the one revealed here might be worth only $30,000 or so on the black market, he says.

Cops say the thieves are out there somewhere. “We're trying to catch the guys who did it. It's rare you get the stuff back.”

Anyone with information on the case was asked to call detectives at (818) 832-7510 or (818) 832-7511.

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