Union Pacific threatens to leave LA, citing rampant cargo theft
Missing an Amazon package? It could be among the sea of debris blanketing railroad tracks in Los Angeles, where thieves have been raiding cargo trains with apparent impunity.
The images are stunning. They show thousands of busted shipping boxes littering the Union Pacific (UP) tracks leading to Downtown Los Angeles.
The thieves break into railroad containers and empty the goods on site. “Once the goods have been tossed out of moving freight trains, others swoop in looking for the most valuable items,” ABC 7 reports.
UP has its own police department which has increased patrols. Agents have made over 100 arrests, but UP says it hasn’t been contacted about any court proceedings. That’s because the thieves are rarely prosecuted.
The company sent a letter to LA County District Attorney George Gascón’s office last month about the 160% increase in theft. It wants the DA to reconsider a December 2020 special directive that calls for a number of misdemeanor charges to be dismissed.
“Our office is committed to working with law enforcement to ensure collective safety across Los Angeles County's sprawling infrastructure, whether it's at our ports or on railroad tracks," Alex Bastian, Special Advisor to District Attorney Gascón, told CNN.
"Some cases presented to our office by Union Pacific have been filed, such as burglary and grand theft, while others have been declined due to insufficient evidence. We make charging decisions based on the evidence. Our office takes Union Pacific's concerns seriously and hopes to discuss this issue more in the coming weeks.”
If the current situation continues, UP says it may stop operating in LA County altogether.