Videos show LA train lines strewn with thousands of looted packages while thieves attack unmanned containers

Videos show LA train lines strewn with thousands of looted packages while thieves attack unmanned containers

A file image of a United Pacific train in Council Bluffs, Iowa, in 2014.Nati Harnik / AP picture

  • A CBS photographer captured stunning footage of looted packages along an LA railroad line.

  • The video appears to show the extent of theft from train containers near a Union Pacific terminal.

  • Sources told CBS that Union Pacific container locks are easy to cut, making theft relatively simple.

Thousands of empty, looted packages scattered along Los Angeles railroads have been captured on video, highlighting what appears to be chronic theft from cargo containers.

CBS Los Angeles photographer John Schreiber posted a series of videos in a Twitter thread Thursday in which he said he was on his way to the tracks in the Lincoln Heights area of ​​the city after hearing about train thefts on the local police scanner.

At Lincoln Heights – a densely populated area in central LA – the train tracks converge on a Union Pacific (UP) terminal as well as a United Parcel Service (UPS) customer center, where trains load their cargo.

Schreiber estimated that at least one in five of the containers he saw on the rails had been targeted, with doors open and locks cut.

“There are looted packages as far as the eye can see,” he wrote. He reported finding packages from UPS and Amazon scattered across the tracks.

Schreiber also found items such as Epi Pens and COVID-19 test kits. Such items were not considered valuable enough to be taken by thieves, It reported CBS LA.

Additional videos from Schreibers show the ground densely filled with cardboard and open packages on either side of the tracks.

UP agents have the primary responsibility for police control of the tracks and the areas adjacent to them. According to CBS LA, police do not respond to reports from the area unless UP asks for help, which they said it rarely does. LAPD’s interactive crime map shows no reported thefts in the area.

Untitled sources also told CBSLA that the locks on Union Pacific containers are easy to cut, which along with the lack of police involvement makes theft more straightforward.

Union Pacific did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment outside opening hours, but told CBS LA that it is “very concerned” about the increase in thefts.

According to Schreiber, the area had been cleaned up by staff twice in the last three months, giving a sense of the sheer amount of thefts that were taking place.

In its statement to CBS LA, UP said it has taken action against the problem.

“We have increased the number of Union Pacific Special Agents on patrol, and we have used and explored additional technologies to help us combat this criminal activity,” it said.

“We will also continue to work with our local law enforcement partners and elected leaders.”

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