Los Angeles DA Faults Union Pacific for Unprosecuted Train Burglaries

(AP Photo/Nati Harnik, File)

There has been a rash of Union Pacific train burglaries in which criminals break into cargo train cars in Los Angeles, rifle through the packages, and discard what they don’t steal.


My PJ Media colleague Cameron Arcand reported on these robberies last week, and he likened the sights to the movie WALL-E.

Judge for yourself:

Fox News reports that Union Pacific has reached out to the office of Los Angeles District Attorney George Gascon asking for help prosecuting these crimes.

In December 2021, Adrian Guerrero, UP’s state director of public affairs in California, sent a letter to the district attorney pointing to rising retail theft crime in LA County over the past year as part of the reason train thefts were occurring more frequently and asking for assistance in addressing it on UP railroads. UP says it experienced a 160% increase in criminal rail theft in Los Angeles County over the past year.

Last week, UP urged Gascon to “reconsider” Special Directive 20-07, which allows many misdemeanor cases to be declined or dismissed prior to arraignment unless “factors for considerations” exist.


Gascon — who, by the way, is the author of the 2014 proposition that declared all shoplifting incidents under $950 to be misdemeanors — replied with a letter of his own, and he asserts that Union Pacific has sent fewer cases to his office in 2021 than in any of the prior two years.

“In 2019, 78 cases were presented for filing. In 2020, 56 cases were presented for filing. And in a sharp decline, in 2021, 47 such cases were presented for filing consideration, and over 55% were filed by my office,” Gascon said in his letter to UP. “The charges filed included both felony and misdemeanor offenses alleging burglary, theft and receiving stolen property.”

The district attorney’s office declined to file 20 cases last year, 10 of them because they failed to meet the standards of evidence beyond a reasonable doubt, and the rest because they “involved offenses such as allegations of unhoused individuals within 20 feet of the railroad tracks and simple possession of drugs for personal use — not allegations of burglary, theft or tampering.”

Related: How Far Will the Left Go to Keep Criminals Out of Jail?

Union Pacific estimates that criminals loot 90 shipping containers a day and that the looters have inflicted about $5 million in damage to Union Pacific property alone, not to mention the value of the packages that have been stolen.


Footage of the trash left behind by the train car looters has grabbed the attention of lawmakers, who have petitioned Attorney General Merrick Garland to get federal authorities involved — as soon as they’re done rooting out all those pesky concerned parents and fictional white supremacist domestic terrorists. Of course, those are more important than these real crimes.


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