Welcome to DU! The truly grassroots left-of-center political community where regular people, not algorithms, drive the discussions and set the standards. Join the community: Create a free account Support DU (and get rid of ads!): Become a Star Member Latest Breaking News General Discussion The DU Lounge All Forums Issue Forums Culture Forums Alliance Forums Region Forums Support Forums Help & Search


(57,275 posts)
Sun Feb 11, 2024, 06:50 PM Feb 11

The Great Freight-Train Heists of the 21st Century

Hat tip, someone in a group I’m a member of

The Great Freight-Train Heists of the 21st Century

The explosion of the e-commerce economy has created an opportunity for thieves — and a conundrum for the railways.

By Malia Wollan
Published Jan. 23, 2024
Updated Feb. 4, 2024


Some 20 million containers move through the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach every year, including about 35 percent of all the imports into the United States from Asia. Once these steel boxes leave the relative security of a ship at port, they are loaded onto trains and trucks — and then things start disappearing. The Los Angeles basin is the country’s undisputed capital of cargo theft, the region with the most reported incidents of stuff stolen from trains and trucks and those interstitial spaces in the supply chain, like rail yards, warehouses, truck stops and parking lots. Cases of reported cargo theft in the United States have nearly doubled since 2019, according to CargoNet, a theft-focused subsidiary of Verisk, a multinational company that analyzes business risks, primarily for the insurance sector. On CargoNet’s map of cargo-theft hot spots, Dallas, Chicago, Atlanta and Memphis show up as distinct, high-incident red blobs. But the biggest blob, a red oblong smear, stretches out over the Los Angeles valley like molten lava.

Freight trains are massive mechanical constructions, but because they’ve been on the landscape for so long, they tend to be part of the background, like hills. In Los Angeles, however, trains roared back into the public imagination in late November 2021, when a local NBC affiliate ran footage from a section of Union Pacific tracks strewed with thousands of ransacked boxes. The video included a man with bolt cutters climbing up onto moving cars and a reporter’s calls to the packages’ intended recipients, as well as their reactions to seeing their emptied-out boxes. “I’m honestly just disgusted in human behavior,” said a woman in Seattle who was waiting for a car seat for her unborn baby. It was like an IMAX-scale version of those now-ubiquitous security camera videos of porch pirates sneaking off with deliveries.

Soon videos of the trains were circulating all over; by January, the story had become international news and the images a kind of culture-war Rorschach test. When a photojournalist and helicopter cameraman for CBS Los Angeles posted a thread to Twitter featuring similar footage, tens of thousands of people retweeted and commented. Some viewers saw the videos as evidence of the absurdity of global e-commerce run amok; some even reveled at the return of an iconic American crime. One respondent posted a clip of Robert Redford and Paul Newman in “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid.” Another quipped, “Who will cry for the Amazon packages?”

But other viewers saw the entire mess as illustrative of a kind of dystopian lawlessness they attributed to liberal cities gone rogue. “This breakdown of order is happening because the bedrock of civilized society, the rule of law, has been abandoned,” the editors of National Review wrote. “For Los Angeles district attorney George Gascón, a paradigm exemplar of today’s progressive prosecutors, this is literally the express-track redistribution of wealth.”


Fri Jan 14, 2022: Thieves Raiding Cargo Containers, Stealing Packages On Downtown Section Of Union Pacific Train...
1 replies = new reply since forum marked as read
Highlight: NoneDon't highlight anything 5 newestHighlight 5 most recent replies
The Great Freight-Train Heists of the 21st Century (Original Post) mahatmakanejeeves Feb 11 OP
When you can steal an election, what's a few dozen railroad freight cars? bucolic_frolic Feb 11 #1


(43,022 posts)
1. When you can steal an election, what's a few dozen railroad freight cars?
Sun Feb 11, 2024, 06:56 PM
Feb 11

Love how they link it to liberals. That merchandise will be bought by Rethugs in Bentleys in some of the toniest zip codes in America, from seemingly legitimate websites.

Latest Discussions»Region Forums»California»The Great Freight-Train H...