Thieves have been looting cargo containers on a section of the Union Pacific train tracks in downtown Los Angeles for months, taking packages and leaving thousands of shredded boxes, according to a report from CBS Los Angeles.
The stolen packages are from retailers such as Amazon and REI, among others, CBSLA reported Thursday. Debris left behind includes items that the thieves apparently don’t consider valuable enough to take, such as at-home COVID test kits.
While CBSLA cameras were present, one person could be seen running off with a container used to hold small packages, and a Union Pacific railroad police officer was spotted chasing two other people who were apparently sifting through packages.
It was a similar scene to the one in November, when NBC4 showed thousands of discarded boxes lining the tracks by the homeless encampments northeast of downtown in the Lincoln Park area.
In a statement to CBSLA, Union Pacific said that the railroad was concerned about the increase in cargo thefts in California.
“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,” the railroad said. “We also will continue to work with our local law enforcement partners and elected leaders.”
United Parcel Service (UPS) declined to comment, but said that the company was cooperating with authorities, and Amazon said it was directing inquiries to police.
“The safety of our customers’ goods and our employees is our highest priority,” UPS said in a statement.
Luis Rosas said he has seen the thieves in action before. Rosas makes about $20 an hour salvaging items from the tracks in the Los Angeles area for a Union Pacific subcontractor. He said the thieves break locks on the containers using bolt cutters and load up waiting vehicles with the stolen goods.
He has been doing this work almost daily for about six months, and, while he’s been told not to engage in confrontations, Rosas said he still feels afraid.
“They don’t even run off anymore,” he told the Associated Press on Friday. “They do it right in front of us. At first, I was shocked. I was amazed by it.”
A Union Pacific train derailed Saturday afternoon near an area where thousands of empty boxes were left, according to NBCLA.
The derailment happened around 4:30 p.m. at the intersection of San Pablo Street and Valley Boulevard, and Union Pacific reported to CW affiliate KTLA that a total of 17 cars derailed at the site.
There was no word on injuries or what caused the derailment.
© 2023 Newsmax. All rights reserved.