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UP train derails in area struck by thefts

By | January 17, 2022

Railroad seeks solution to huge increase in break-ins

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Union Pacific logo with Building America slogan

Union Pacific logo with Building America sloganLOS ANGELES — Seventeen cars of a Union Pacific train derailed Saturday in LA’s Lincoln Heights neighborhood, an area in which trains have been struck by widespread cargo thefts.

KABC-TV reports it was told by Union Pacific that no injuries were reported and the cause of the derailment was under investigation. No information was immediately available if the derailed train was a target of thieves.

KCBS-TV reports the train thefts increased by 356% from October 2020 to October 2021, with companies such as FedEx and UPS exploring the possibility of rerouting shipments to avoid Los Angeles County. UP is testing ways to increase security, and is blaming lenient sentencing for part of the problem, saying its police have been involved in more than 100 arrests in the last three months, but have yet to be called to testify in a case.

“We’re paying the price as consumers. All of us shop online these days and this is something we’re also paying the price for,” a UP spokeswoman said.

16 thoughts on “UP train derails in area struck by thefts

  1. Pretty much all the previously-mentioned security measures could be easily defeated simply by using a battery-powered angle grinder with a cutting disk; also available to be stolen from local hardware or big-box stores.
    More stringent law enforcement AND prosecution & punishment is the better solution; but, being a Portland resident and long-time Oregonian, I see no way that will happen in any major West coast city!

  2. Hardened bolts have been in use for years. If you look at the holes in the hasp they don’t accept a very big bolt.
    All sorts of ideas have been discussed for years but no one (railroads, shippers, or customers) wants to pay the extra expense.

  3. I’m all in for some kind of severe punishment. But in the meantime,
    how about some alternatives, such as: a. Take the handles off — the only ones
    that “need” the handles are the ones that load it and the ones that unload it.
    Easy enough to make sure they have handles and a suitable pin to attach it.
    The thieves would need to bring good size pipe wrenches to turn those locking rods.
    b. some kind of metal shield that could get firmly attached “over” the handles
    that would require tools to remove.
    c. an appropriate size bolt ( hardened and sized too large for a hardware store bolt cutter) with a “one-way nut” that cannot be removed. The bolt can be cut off at the final destination with a metal cutting blade in a hand grinder.

    Ok, guys. Many of you must have some more ideas. Let’s hear them

    1. re: previous post — item c. …bolt through the holes where you would put a padlock…

  4. Oliver, Yes bolt cutters have been used for years. They are usually stolen from hardware stores.
    The only safe container is the bottom one that fits tight in the tub.

  5. Isn’t petty theft (less than $1,000.00) no longer a crime in CA? So if a gang of 50 perps steal $50k worth of goods, they’re home free, right?

    1. It’s not less than $1000.00, it’s less than $950.00 and the law was passed by the citizens(I wonder how many are regretting that decision now, I personally voted against it) from a Proposition. It’s unfortunate that people consider the removal of fingers and possibly the entire hand as cruel and unusual punishment…it’s honestly the only deterrent that keeps theft so low in Middle Eastern countries, and I think it should be used here. For those that disagree, the person still has another hand they can use to perform a job, they just need to learn how to work with only one hand now.

  6. Are the container door seals simply being cut? Why wouldn’t hardened metal padlocks work? Are boltcutters being used already?

    1. Yes Oliver. Most of the containers that I see on highway trucks have a simple metal band for a seal. I could cut that with my leatherman. I am member of our local FD and hardened padlocks would work it takes two or three good size guys on the handles of the bolt cutters to cut one. The only problem I see with the pad locks is who has the keys ?

  7. To my knowledge, Triple Crown, due to configuration of the consist, never had a theft problem on line of road.

  8. The UP cutting employees which has included the police department I am sure doesn’t help either. Do a check on how many UP police officers they had 5-10 years ago and how many there are today.
    Yes it is interstate commerce and a federal crime but the feds aren’t interested as it is a low dollar figure and this is being done randomly by street gangs. It has turned into big dollars because they are getting away with it.
    I’ve worked there and rode shotgun on a container train years ago when crime was treated as a criminal act. Back then the LAPD and other local agencies don’t really care as they say the railroad has their own officers and they say let them handle it.

  9. Concrete fences with razor barbed wire tops. If not “All Trespassers May Be Shot And Prosecuted” signs.

    1. “All Trespassers May Be Shot And Prosecuted” The “Shot” part sounds a bit much. You wouldn’t need to prosecute em if you shot em.

  10. Isn’t stealing from a train a Federal Crime because it is Interstate Commerce? Seems to me that the gov would be more than happy to prosecute. Just sayin’.

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