New video shows a fire inside a cargo container, two thieves confronting a Union Pacific employee on the tracks with a crowbar, and the continued mess of stolen packages littering the tracks in Los Angeles.
Crews continue to try to clean it up and trains keep moving, but there’s still a criminal issue: thieves won’t stop, despite increased eyes on the tracks.
The new video was shared with NBCLA from a Union Pacific engineer who says the sight is all too common.
In the video, a man is seen with a crowbar as he and another thief surround an employee. The video was recorded days before NBCLA exposed what was happening on the tracks in East LA last November.
NBCLA found who the boxes were intended for, and showed the thieves armed with boltcutters targeting the trains to the sheriff. John Cadiz Klemack reports Nov. 22, 2021.
The LA County Sheriff has a task force specifically assigned to investigating cargo thefts. But when we showed the sheriff the thieves in action, he seemed to know nothing about it, promising to look into it in November.
The department says they’ve been in contact with the rail company attempting to deter thefts now happening near the City of Commerce as well. See a full statement below.
“It’s really disappointing, frustrating,” Union pacific’s Adrian Guerrero said.
Union Pacific thanked NBCLA for our coverage, saying our November story aired in the midst of their escalated advocacy efforts, hoping to get state lawmakers on board to helping curb the crime.
“This issue is handled differently in other states. It’s handled differently in other counties in this state. So while we appreciate the leadership from the governor’s office and other leaders, we’re asking for short immediate action in addition to long term action to help this issue going forward,” Guerrero said.
But multiple employees of the rail company – including the engineer that shared the video – said Union Pacific only has one assigned police officer for all 275 miles of track through LA County. Union Pacific said it has brought in police power from a 22-state network, making 150 arrests since NBCLA broke this story.
Union Pacific blames the LA District Attorney for a lack of enforcement.
Thieves are breaking into cargo containers along train lines. Angie Crouch reports for the NBC4 News on Monday, Nov. 1, 2021.
While the DA’s office responded and said they filed some cases, they say they threw out others for lack of evidence. What is evident though is that these cargo thefts continue even now.
LASD released a full statement regarding the thefts:
“Los Angeles County Sheriff Major Crimes Bureau detectives in conjunction with Union Pacific Railroad police have been investigating and attempting to deter thefts at the Commerce rail yard in the City of Commerce.
Detectives from both agencies have participated in meetings with LAPD Hollenbeck station detectives and their Captain to better understand the problem and work together in reducing the thefts.
Stakeholders such as Walmart, Home Depot, FedEx, UPS and Specialized Bikes attended one such meeting to assist and express their willingness to assist in putting an end to the crimes.”
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