Recently, “smash and grab” thugs have set their sights on new opportunities. Shifting attention from high-end department stores to train tracks, criminals have started to besiege various sections of the Union Pacific train tracks, located in downtown Los Angeles, namely by looting packages and discarding multiple thousands of shredded boxes.
These boxes include packages stolen from an array of retailers, including REI and Amazon. Moreover, the items that have been roundly discarded provide insight into less profitable products for thieves. For instance, multiple at-home COVID test kits have apparently been discarded.
According to a report from CBS Los Angeles (CBSLA), rampant criminal activity on the train tracks has persisted for multiple months.
Video footage from CBSLA reveals one person sprinting off with a container for used for small packages, as well as a police officer with Union Pacific railroad chasing two other individuals who were apparently rifling through packages and determining which ones to steal.
The footage also mirrors similar footage taken in November, notably when NBC4 revealed multiple thousands of discarded boxes lining up alongside the tracks beside homeless encampments clustered in downtown Lincoln Park.
Union Pacific remarked to CBSLA that the railroad remains acutely concerned about increased cargo threats across the state of California.
“We have increased the number of Union Pacific special agents on patrol,” the company proclaimed, “and we have utilized and explored additional technologies to help us combat this criminal activity.”
While United Parcel Service (UPS) declined to give a direct comment to CBSLA, the company indicated that it was in talks with authorities over the issue; additionally, Amazon also indicated that it was sending inquiries to local law enforcement.
Luis Rosas, an employee at the railroad, has personally witnessed the criminals’ behavior. Rosas, who earns approximately $20/hour, salvages various items from the train tracks in the Los Angeles area for a subcontractor with Union Pacific. Per Rosas, the criminals generally use bolt cutters to break the locks of containers, and they subsequently fill waiting vehicles with a broad array of stolen goods.
Over the past six months of his employment, Rosas has observed that criminals have become more emboldened, committing crimes “right in front” of the employees.
“I was shocked,” Rosas remarked.