Trains With Packages Being Attacked By Looters, Compromising Supply Chain

( For months now, thieves have been plundering cargo containers aboard trains in Los Angeles County, stealing the contents of packages and leaving the tracks completely blanketed in empty boxes and discarded merchandise.

Last week, the local CBS channel aired footage of the sea of debris left behind, including items the thieves didn’t think were valuable enough to steal. During the live broadcast, news cameras filmed one person running off with a container full of smaller packages. They also captured footage of a Union Pacific railroad officer chasing down two other thieves who were plundering through packages.

The same chaotic scene played out before news cameras back in November when the local NBC affiliate was reporting on thousands of discarded boxes along the tracks just northeast of downtown Los Angeles.

Union Pacific, one of the largest railroad companies in the US sent a letter to Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascón in December blaming him for the spike in railroad package thefts. The railroad company noted that there had been a 160 percent year-over-year increase in train car thefts in LA County and blamed the increase on Gascón’s December 2020 directive which changed how low-level crimes are prosecuted.

Union Pacific has increased the number of its special agents patrolling the area and is working in partnership with both the LAPD and the LA County Sheriff’s office. However, even with this increased security, the spike in railroad thefts continues.

In their December letter to the DA, Union Pacific said in the last quarter of 2021, law enforcement made over one hundred arrests, but the individuals apprehended were released from custody within 24 hours.

In a statement regarding the spike in package thefts, Amazon said it was directing all inquiries to the police. UPS also released a statement saying it was cooperating with authorities.

Luis Rosa, one worker hired by Union Pacific to salvage items left on the tracks told the Associated Press that he has seen the thieves in action using bolt cutters to enter the containers then loading the stolen merchandise into vans or trucks. He said the thieves are so brazen, they don’t even run away when they see the clean-up crew along the tracks.