US: Thieves loot trains carrying e-commerce packages in Los Angeles
Los Angeles/IBNS: Multiple freight cars are being looted in Los Angeles's railways by thieves, who leave thousands of empty boxes after taking away products packed in them, taking advantage of trains' stoppages, AFP reported.
According to the report, Amazon, Target, UPS, and FedEx are being hit by the thefts, which have exploded in recent months.
AFP said its team recovered tags lying on a track near the city center -- which was easily accessible from nearby streets.
"The thieves wait until the long freight trains are immobilized on the tracks, and then climb onto the freight containers, whose locks they easily break with the help of bolt cutters," the report stated.
The thieves steal only easy-to-move products that have resale value and ditch products cheap items such as Covid-19 test kits, furniture, or medications.
Rail operator Union Pacific has seen a 160 percent rise in thefts in Los Angeles county since December 2020.
"In October 2021 alone, the increase was 356 percent compared to October 2020," UP said in a letter to the local authorities, seen by AFP.
Looting increased recently with the peak of activity linked to Christmas shopping.
"Assaults and armed robberies of UP employees performing their duties moving trains," the letter said.
More than 90 containers were looted every day on average in Los Angeles County in the last quarter of 2021, the letter stated.
Over 100 people in the last three months of 2021 for "trespassing and vandalizing" Union Pacific trains.
"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," said a spokesman for the rail operator.
"In fact, criminals boast to our officers that there is no consequence," he said.
Union Pacific urged the Los Angeles County attorney's office in December end asking them to reevaluate a leniency policy introduced at the end of 2020 for such crimes. according to the report.