Cargo car robbery explodes in Los Angeles

Dozens of cargo cars are broken into in Los Angeles every day by thieves who take advantage of their stops to rob the packages they took with them, leaving thousands of boxes and products bought over the Internet that will never arrive.

Easily accessible from adjoining roads, most major U.S. lanes are easily accessible from nearby roads, according to a tag found Friday by an AFP team on a lane near the city center. Mail order and courier companies (Amazon, Target, UPS, FedEx, etc.) were concerned with these thefts, which exploded for a few months.

The thieves took advantage of immobilizing the long train convoys on the tracks to board the cargo containers, whose locks they break easily with the help of pliers. Then they only have to help themselves to the package, leaving behind many products that are difficult to resell or are too cheap, such as COVID tests, furniture or medicines.

Since December 2020, rail operator Union Pacific (UP) has seen a 160% increase in flights into Los Angeles County. “In October 2021 alone, the increase reached 356% compared to October 2020,” the operator said in a letter to local authorities sent to AFP.

This explosion of looting is accompanied by a surge in “targeted attacks and armed robberies to Union Pacific employees”, the letter adds.

The event has resumed with the peak of activity related to Christmas shopping. An average of more than 90 containers were vandalized every day in Los Angeles County in the last quarter of 2021, according to data reported by UP.

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To prevent this happening, Union Pacific says it has strengthened surveillance measures (drones, detection systems, etc.) and recruited more police to protect its tracks and convoys.

Along with Los Angeles City and County Police, more than 100 people have been arrested for “sabotaging” Union Pacific trains in the past three months of 2021.

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