Robbers have raided another cargo train in downtown Los Angeles, where hundreds of Amazon packages and UPS boxes were vandalized. The vandals ransacked packages meant to be delivered to Amazon, FedEx, and UPS customers, leaving behind mounds of trash for “as far as the eye can see,” said CBS photojournalist John Schreiber.
Union Pacific, a railroad company in the United States with its own railroad police, said looting of trains has risen 160% in the last year in Los Angeles County. The company that has its own rail tracks wrote a letter to Los Angeles District Attorney George Gascon on December 20, 2021, lamenting that the DA’s office is not doing enough to prosecute arrested train looters.
Union Pacific said they have arrested more than 100 persons caught vandalizing their trains, but they are released within 24 hours after paying paltry fines. They blamed this development on the Special Directive 20-70 given by DA Gascon which dismisses 13 misdemeanor charges.
“However, Union Pacific has not been contacted for any court proceedings,” UP stated. “While criminals are being caught and arrested, charges are reduced to a misdemeanor or petty offense, and the person is back on the streets in less than 24 hours after paying a nominal fine. In fact, criminals boast to our officers that there is no consequence.”
UP executives said the spike in train looting has resulted in increased assaults of UP employees during armed robbery operations on the cargo trains.
“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,” the train company said. “While we understand the well-intended social justice goals of his [DA’s] Special Directive, we need the justice system in LA County to support law enforcement efforts to hold criminals accountable, while protecting Union Pacific employees and the supply chain.”
Alex Bastian, Special Advisor to District Attorney Gascón said the DA takes UP’s concerns very seriously, but that the county would likely prosecute cases based on abundant evidence. Bastian said the DA’s office has filed burglary and grand theft cases brought by the train company, and that others were declined due to insufficient evidence. He said the county’s office will continue to work with Union Pacific and local law enforcement to curtail the rise in train robberies.