LOS ANGELES (NewsNation Now) — California Gov. Gavin Newsom helped clean up train tracks in Los Angeles after thousands of packages were found scattered throughout the site.
Newsom visited the Union Pacific site to “highlight a multi-agency effort to clean up the railway,” combat theft, and hold the perpetrators responsible. He called the site “unacceptable.”
Union Pacific said its criminal rail theft is up 160% in Los Angeles County over the past year. The company estimates there were more than 100 people arrested for vandalizing trains during last year’s peak holiday season.
The items in the boxes ranged from family portraits, boots, and medications to COVID-19 rapid tests swabs and PPE. Officials say the thefts are happening in broad daylight.
“This is not a one-off. This is organized theft. They’re organized groups of folks that move from site to site,” Newsom said.
Union Pacific said it has added more special agents to watch the tracks in the area.
“Union Pacific is very concerned about the increased cargo thefts in California, and we have taken several steps to address this criminal activity,” Union Pacific said in a statement. “These rail crimes pose a serious safety threat to the public, our employees and local law enforcement officers.”
The governor acknowledged that many of the packages were Christmas gifts that were never delivered to their intended recipients.