The operator of one of America’s largest train networks is threatening to withdraw its services from Los Angeles following months of unmitigated train robberies.
Union Pacific, which operates the transportation of freight cargo for UPS, Amazon, and other companies, revealed last weekend that around 90 shipping containers are broken into by looters every day. Images and video footage, which have since gone viral, show tens of thousands of discarded packages scattered throughout the train tracks.
The situation is so dire that it even caused a train to derail.
“In [Lincoln Heights] at the site of many recent train robberies a train appears to have derailed,” wrote photojournalist Mike Ade.
Adrian Guerrero, the director of public affairs for Union Pacific, wrote a letter to Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascon blaming the prosecutor’s far-left policies for the mass looting that takes place every day on the tracks.
- “Since December 2020, UP has experienced an over 160% increase in criminal rail theft in Los Angeles County. In several months during that period, the increase from the previous year surpassed 200%. In October 2021 alone, the increase was 356% over compared to October 2020. Not only do these dramatic increases represent retail product thefts – they include increased assaults and armed robberies of UP employees performing their duties moving trains.”
- Over the last three months, “over 90 containers [are] compromised per day.”
- “This increased criminal activity over the past twelve months accounts for approximately $5 million in claims, losses and damages to UP. And that value does not include respective losses to our impacted customers.”
The executive cast blame on the city’s far-left woke politics, charging responsibility for the crimes on Los Angeles’ refusal to convict, or even charge the criminals whom he says brag about their activities to police upon being arrested.
“Criminals are caught and arrested, turned over to local authorities for booking, arraigned before the local courts, charges are reduced to a misdemeanor or petty offense, and the criminal is released after paying a nominal fine,” Guerrero wrote.
“These individuals are generally caught and released back onto the streets in less than twenty-four hours,” he continued. “Even with all the arrests made, the no-cash bail policy and extended timeframe for suspects to appear in court is causing re-victimization to UP by these same criminals. In fact, criminals boast to our officers that charges will be pied down to simple trespassing — which bears no serious consequence. Without any judicial deterrence or consequence, it is no surprise that over the past year UP has witnessed the significant increase in criminal rail theft described above.”
“While we understand the well-intended social justice goals of the policy, we need our justice system to support our partnership efforts with local law enforcement, hold these criminals accountable, and most important, help protect our employees and the critical local and national rail network,” Guerrero added.
The Union Pacific executive said the issue has reached crisis levels, and that the company is now considering terminating its operations in the region entirely, noting that it is evaluating “serious changes to our operating plans to avoid Los Angeles County.”
The issue has made Los Angeles of both mockery and concern on social media after footage of the criminal robberies went viral in a Twitter thread by Los Angles photojournalist John Schreiber.
“Keep hearing of train burglaries in LA on the scanner so went to #LincolnHeights to see it all. And… there’s looted packages as far as the eye can see. Amazon packages, @UPS boxes, unused Covid tests, fishing lures, epi pens. Cargo containers left busted open on trains,” Schreiber tweeted. “I’m told by law enforcement these @UPS bags are especially sought after by thieves opening cargo containers… they are often full of boxes with merchandise bound for residential addresses. More valuable than say, a cargo container full of low value bulky items like toilet paper.”
“As you can see, trains frequently slow or stop in this area as they get worked into the @UnionPacific Intermodal facility near Downtown LA. The thieves use this opportunity to break open containers and take what’s inside. I’d say every 4th or 5th rail car had opened containers,” Schreiber added.
“Missing a package? Shipment delayed? Maybe your package is among the thousands we found discarded along the tracks,” Schreiber wrote. “This is but one area thieves have targeted trains. We were told this area was just cleaned up 30 days ago so what you see is all within the last month.”