Speed Reads

Train Heist

Thieves raid rail cars for shipped consumer packages, L.A. news crew reports from litter-strewn tracks

"A section of the Union Pacific train tracks in downtown Los Angeles has been littered with thousands of shredded boxes, packages stolen from cargo containers that stop in the area to unload," CBS Los Angeles reported Thursday evening. The news crew that visited the stretch of track found opened an unopened packages from Amazon, REI, and other retailers, plus thinks like rapid COVID-19 tests the thieves did not think worth taking with them. 

CBSLA photojournalist John Schreiber posted some videos on Twitter and explained what they found. 

"Sources told CBSLA that the locks Union Pacific uses are easy to cut, and officials with the Los Angeles Police Department said they don't respond to reports of a train robbery unless Union Pacific asks them for help, which they said is rare," CBS Los Angeles reports. Union Pacific's own police force is responsible for guarding the trains, and the news crew did see one Union Pacific officer chase away people rummaging through the discarded packages. The tracks were cleared 30 days ago, CBSLA reports.

Union Pacific told CBSLA in a statement that it is "very concerned about the increased cargo thefts in California, and we have taken several steps to address this criminal activity," including increasing "the number of Union Pacific special agents on patrol, and we have utilized and explored additional technologies to help us combat this criminal activity." 

Schreiber typed in the tracking numbers of some of the packages, and they were listed as "delayed" or "on the way." So if something you ordered doesn't arrive on time, "maybe your package is among the thousands we found discarded along the tracks," he suggested. Watch the entire report at CBS Los Angeles.