Union Pacific blames LA’s far-left policies for $5M in train theft losses, may soon abandon City of Angels

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Pirates are alive and well in Los Angeles, and an official with Union Pacific (UP) has had enough.

In a letter penned late last week to the impossibly progressive L.A. District Attorney George Gascon, Adrian Guerrero, director of UP public affairs, stated the organization believes that approximately 90 shipping containers are compromised by bands of thieves.

Images of train tracks littered with cardboard, shipping boxes, and discarded packing material have gone viral in recent days, with the L.A. rails looking like something one would expect to see in a war-torn, third-world nation.

In the letter, Guerrero revealed:

  • “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.”

Guerrero then laid the blame for the chaos squarely at the feet of the city’s far-Left policies, claiming they are enabling the criminals, who then brag about being let off easy for their crimes.

“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 said. “These individuals are generally caught and released back onto the streets in less than twenty-four hours. 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,” Guerrero added, “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.”

According to Guerrero, the problem is so bad that Union Pacific is now evaluating “serious changes to our operating plans to avoid Los Angeles County.”

One alleged train-robber, interviewed by The Los Angeles Times, said that he has found everything from a Louis Vuitton purse to a robotic arm worth tens of thousands of dollars. “We find things here and there, make some money off of it,” the man said.

The surreal state of affairs exploded onto the national news scene late last week after CBS Los Angeles photojournalist John Schreiber published a series of tweets that contained images of the mayhem.

“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 continued.

“Missing a package? Shipment delayed? Maybe your package is among the thousands we found discarded along the tracks. 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,” Schreiber tweeted.

“Responsibility for policing the railroad right of way falls on Union Pacific Police… not local agencies like LAPD,” he concluded. “We did see Union Pacific police chasing two people today off the tracks and keeping an eye on things.”

In response to the letter, DA Gascon said in a public statement:  “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.

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