Looting of LA County Railcars Exacerbate Supply Chain Woes
Supply-chain disruptions are widespread. Railcar thefts in Los Angeles County increased by 160% over the past year and 356% from last October compared with October 2020, according to news reports.
"This increased criminal activity over the past 12 months accounts for approximately $5 million in claims, losses and damages to Union Pacific," wrote Adrian Guerrero, of the Union Pacific's California and Pacific Northwest region, in a letter to the Los Angeles County district attorney, George Gascón. "That value does not include respective losses to our impacted customers," he added.
During the three months leading up to the holiday season, on average, more than 90 containers were compromised in Los Angeles County per day, according to the Union Pacific.
Although Union Pacific employs over 200 police officers, they are responsible for patrolling thousands of miles of tracks spanning 23 states, according to The Wall Street Journal. These "thefts began proliferating about the same time the supply chain started to cripple," per the Daily Breeze.
How quickly the issues get resolved remains a question. "Criminals are being caught and arrested, turned over to local authorities for booking, arraigned before the local courts, charges are reduced to a misdemeanor or petty offense, and the criminal is released after paying a nominal fine," Guerrero said in the letter to Gascon. "These individuals are generally caught and released back onto the streets in less than 24 hours. Even with all the arrests made, the no-cash bail policy and extended timeframe for suspects to appear in court is causing re-victimization to Union Pacific by these same criminals."
—Bryan Mason, editorial associate