Train Tracks Swamped With Empty Boxes As Thieves Target Cargo Containers

by : Poppy Bilderbeck on : 14 Jan 2022 16:20
Train Tracks Swamped With Empty Boxes As Thieves Target Cargo Containers@johnschreiber/Twitter

An area of train track was left in a state of disarray after cargo containers were targeted by thieves.

On Thursday, January 13, part of the Union Pacific train tracks in downtown Los Angeles were left looking like the state of my bedroom floor, after thieves ransacked nearby cargo containers and left debris scattered everywhere.


Footage showed packages from companies such as Amazon and REI left littered on the tracks, with items such as Covid-19 test kits left discarded to the side.

The trains stop in the area to unload their cargo, however sources told CBSLA that the locks used on such containers are easy to cut through.

Moreover, unless Union Pacific specifically requests help from the Los Angeles Police Department, the department doesn’t respond to reports of train robberies. The police also explained that such a report is rare.


Footage posted to Twitter by John Schreiber, a journalist for CBS, shows the reporter standing amongst the scattered piles of undelivered items, even picking up a package that he notes is ‘unopened’.

Another item is identified as a coronavirus rapid test, and a third is a pack of fishing lures.

Schreiber explained that law enforcement warned that ‘UPS bags are especially sought after by thieves opening cargo containers’, and are ‘often full of boxes with merchandise bound for residential addresses’.


He said:

This opened package from @REI destined for Bainbridge Island, WA was taken off a train. Typing in the @UPS tracking # and it obviously lists it as ‘delayed’. We found lots of opened packages bound for the Northwest along this section of tracks.

The reporter also estimated that every ‘fourth or fifth rail car had opened containers’.


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An arrest in relation to the burglaries took place last month, according to another video that was obtained by the outlet. University of Southern California Campus Police were recorded apprehending a suspected thief and found goods that appeared to be from the train tracks within their possession.

Another video posted by Schreiber showed Union Pacific police chasing two people off the tracks.

A source close to the issue told CBSLA that a similar incident occurred around three months ago, on the exact same area of tracks.


In response to the recurring incidents, Union Pacific stated:

Union Pacific is very concerned about the increased cargo thefts in California, and we have taken several steps to address this criminal activity. These rail crimes pose a serious safety threat to the public, our employees and local law enforcement officers.

We have increased the number of Union Pacific special agents on patrol, and we have utilized and explored additional technologies to help us combat this criminal activity. We also will continue to work with our local law enforcement partners and elected leaders.

However, while the company has upped their level of security, Los Angeles police have been left unconvinced that such changes will provide any more of a successful deterrent.

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