Thieves attack rail freight containers in Los Angeles

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LOS ANGELES — Thieves have been looting cargo containers on trains near downtown Los Angeles for months, taking packages belonging to people across the United States and leaving the tracks covered in discarded boxes.

The packages come from retailers including Amazon, REI and others, CBSLA reported Jan. 13.

While CBSLA cameras were on the scene, a person was seen running away with a container used to hold small packages, and a Union Pacific Railroad police officer was seen chasing two other people who were apparently going through packages.

The scene was the same in November, when NBC4 showed thousands of boxes thrown along lanes lined with homeless encampments northeast of downtown in the Lincoln Park area.

Passing trains carried containers with doors wide open and falling packages, NBC4 reported. Video showed two men, one holding what looked like bolt cutters, walking along the tracks, the station said.

Union Pacific said in a statement to CBSLA that the railroad is concerned about the increase in cargo flights in California.

Thieves have looted freight containers on trains near downtown Los Angeles for months, leaving the tracks covered in discarded packages. (Ringo HW Chiu/Associated Press)

“We have increased the number of Union Pacific Special Agents on patrol, and we have used and explored additional technologies to help us combat this criminal activity. We will also continue to work with our local law enforcement partners and elected leaders,” the railroad said.

Amazon said it was directing investigations to the police. UPS Inc. said it was cooperating with authorities.

“The safety of our customers’ and employees’ assets is our top priority,” UPS said in a statement.

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