Police in Los Angeles have revealed that a cache of guns has been stolen from cargo containers that were left unsecured on railroad tracks earlier this month.
‘People were… breaking into these containers and stealing firearms, tens of firearms,’ LAPD Chief Michel Moore told the Board of Police Commissioners on Monday. ‘That gave us the great concern as a source again of further violence in the city as people were capitalizing on the transport of these containers with having little or no policing or security services there.’
DailyMail.com on Wednesday reached out to the LAPD, but a spokesperson could not say how many guns were stolen from the rail depot in Lincoln Heights.
She said the investigation was being handled by the Union Pacific rail company, which has not immediately responded to a request for a comment.
Moore said police last week arrested six people in connection with a spate of cargo heists, which made national headlines after drone images showed piles of debris left behind by bands of marauding thieves.
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Police in Los Angeles say ‘tens of guns’ were stolen from freight containers at the city’s Lincoln Heights depot earlier this month
People rummage through items stolen from cargo containers littering Union Pacific train tracks in the vicinity of Mission Blvd in Los Angeles on January 15
A couple from Los Angeles walk on the railway piled with debris left behind by marauding bands of thieves
The sight of the ransacked train depot littered with discarded packages earned an unflattering comparison to a ‘Third World country’ from a disgusted Gov Gavin Newsom when he visited the area to help with its cleanup last week.
‘Despite all the attention brought to this, and despite the ongoing efforts by Union Pacific to solve some additional security elements, we still have people that are still drawn to this location,’ Moore told the Police Commission.
LAPD Chief Michel Moore told the Board of Police Commissioners on Monday that he is concerned about the guns that were stolen from train containers
LAPD Deputy Chief Al Labrada, whose command includes the Lincoln Heights depot, told the paper that police have recovered ‘numerous guns’ from people claiming that they came from freight containers.
Union Pacific said that over the past two years, an average of 90 containers a day have been burglarized on tracks running through Los Angeles.
The freight thefts have led to acrimonious finger-pointing between the rail company and Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascon, with Union Pacific accusing the progressive prosecutor of being soft on crime, and Gascon blaming Union Pacific for having lax security.
In December, Union Pacific sent a letter to Gascón asking for more aggressive prosecutions for cargo thieves and an end to the no-bail policy for some defendants that Gascon wants to keep out of jail to reduce overcrowding during the pandemic.
‘These individuals are generally caught and released back onto the streets in less than twenty-four hours. Criminals boast to our officers that charges will be pled down to simple trespassing – which bears no serious consequence,’ the letter from UP’s California director of public affairs Adrian Guerrero said.
Gov Gavin Newsom likened the railroad in LA to a ‘Third World country’ when he visited the site to help clean it up
Newsom, center, was disgusted by the spate of raids on cargo containers nearing downtown Los Angeles
UP said it experienced a 160 per cent increase in criminal rail theft in LA County over the past year.
Gascón’s office had previously said it was ‘committed to working with law enforcement to ensure collective safety across Los Angeles County’s sprawling infrastructure, whether it’s at our ports or on railroad tracks.’
However, on Friday, Gascón wrote a strongly-worded letter back to Union Pacific saying they filed fewer criminal cases to his office than in 2019 and 2020.
‘According to LAPD Deputy Chief Al Labrada, UP does little to secure or lock trains and has significantly decreased law enforcement staffing,’ he wrote. ‘It is very telling that other major railroad operations in the area are not facing the same level of theft at their facilities as UP.’
The California Highway Patrol said Thursday it was expanding its own retail theft task force that will allow it to beef up patrols and better coordinate with police, the sheriff’s department and Union Pacific’s security force. Union Pacific and other railroad firms employ their own police forces accredited by the state to protect its rail lines.
Los Angeles District Attorney George Gascon is taking shots at a railroad company that begged for his help to stop train thefts
Gascón is under fire for failing to crack down on a recent spike in violence and property crimes, with robbery rates up more than 7 per cent as of January 22, compared to the same time last year.
He won over voters last year with promises of sweeping criminal justice reforms that critics say put the interests of criminals before the safety of the community, Fox News reported.
Gascon said of rising crime rates: ‘The reality is that we go through these cycles, and we go through the cycles for a variety of reasons … In many ways we cannot prosecute our way out of social inequalities, income inequalities, the unhoused, the desperation that we have.’