Neil Robert Regeimbal, 70, a retired Washington bureau chief for Chilton Publications who wrote principally about the trucking industry, including a first-person expose of cargo theft, died of cancer Sept. 22 at his home in Gaithersburg.
Mr. Regeimbal's 1968 story for Commercial Car Journal called "They Steal by Night: The Inside Story of a Billion Dollar Bleed-Off" won him one of three Jesse H. Neal Editorial Achievement Awards. The award is given annually by the American Business Press.
In the story, he and a contact stole a rig from a South Chicago truck terminal to prove it could be done even when the lot was well lit and other precautions taken. In a narrative laced with "brassy blonde barmaids" and puddles described as "murky pools of hazy night reflections," Mr. Regeimbal proceeded to arrange the sale of 40,000 pounds of stolen meat from the truck to area restaurateurs and less-savory characters.
Each sale was a ruse, and no one missed the truck before Mr. Regeimbal returned it with its cargo.
Mr. Regeimbal was born in Minneapolis and raised in Silver Spring. He graduated from the University of Maryland with a bachelor's degree in journalism. He worked for the Takoma Park Journal, the Associated Press, the Washington Times-Herald and The Washington Post in the 1950s before joining Chilton in 1962.
He retired from Chilton in 1991, having broken his tenure there briefly in the early 1970s to become media representative for the Motor Vehicle Manufacturers Association in Detroit.
Mr. Regeimbal was a former secretary and vice president of the National Press Club.
This year, he moved from his home of 40 years in Rockville to a son's house in Gaithersburg.
Survivors include his wife of 49 years, Mary Sutton Regeimbal of Gaithersburg; three sons, Neil Jr. and J. Michael, both of Gaithersburg, and Stephen, of Fredericksburg, Va.; three daughters, Claire M. Brasse of Fredericksburg, M. Suzanne Folk of Frederick, Md., and Betsy A. Perry of Rockville; 17 grandchildren; a great-grandson; and a brother.