Over the weekend, photos of an LA train track littered with ransacked boxes made news headlines. Cargo trains on Union Pacific Railroad are being targeted by thieves, and the railroad says that on average, 90 containers are getting hit a day. According to the Wall Street Journal, thieves climb onto the trains when they stop, use bolt cutters to break into containers and help themselves to the goods, discarding what they don’t want or can’t carry as litter on the tracks.
On Saturday, approximately 17 cars on a Union Pacific train derailed in the same area where the vandalism has been occurring. The crew on board was not hurt and the cause is under investigation.
Union Pacific reported what it claimed was a 160% increase since December 2020 in thefts along the railroad tracks. The railroad didn’t release specific data on what was stolen, or the value of what was lost, but it said crimes in 2021 cost the company at least $5 million.
The thefts are worsening supply chain bottlenecks and creating endless delays for consumers and merchants that will likely cost millions, if not more.
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