Ina Steiner EcommerceBytes Blog
News and insight focusing on ecommerce.
by Ina Steiner, Editor of EcommerceBytes.com
Fri Jan 14 2022 00:46:59

Calamitous Train Robberies Could Derail USPS Plans

By: Ina Steiner

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A CBS photojournalist captured video of ripped-opened ecommerce packages strewn across railroad tracks in Los Angeles, California, looted from cargo containers on trains when they had stopped ahead of a station. The crime scene looked like a garbage dump - a seller's nightmare, an EcommerceBytes reader called it.

It's not a new problem - in 2013, CBS New York ran a story about train robberies that one associates more with the 1800s than the 2020s. The article from 8 years ago quoted Freight Watch International Vice President Ron Green, who told CBS that it was "fairly easy" to steal products from trains. "Thieves identify areas where it either stops or slows down, areas where they can easily jump on, pop open door or trailers, throw products off as it is moving or while it is standing still."

But the dramatic video images taken by John Schreiber, a CBS photojournalist in LA, and shared on Twitter are from January 2022 and are going viral, bringing attention to the problem.

"Keep hearing of train burglaries in LA on the scanner so went to #LincolnHeights to see it all. And… there's looted packages as far as the eye can see. Amazon packages, @UPS boxes, unused Covid tests, fishing lures, epi pens. Cargo containers left busted open on trains. @CBSLA," Schreiber tweeted. 

A voice heard on his video said no USPS packages had been found - only those from Amazon and UPS.

If railroad operators are unable to prevent such pillage-and-plundering, it could spell bad news for USPS Postmaster General Louis DeJoy's plan to shift mail from planes to ground transport.

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Readers Comments

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by: 227272 This user has validated their user name.

Fri Jan 14 10:17:35 2022

I needed a trigger warning for this one, Ina.  ;)

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This user has validated their user name. by: iheartjacksparrow

Fri Jan 14 12:31:55 2022

California is all about smash and grab now. Our great Governor Gavin says he's taking action but nothing changes.

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by: toastedmutt This user has validated their user name.

Fri Jan 14 13:39:29 2022

Never ceases to amaze me how many low life scumbags there are out there.

Appears we need more law enforcement and bigger prisons.  Catch them and lock them up.

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by: terry55 This user has validated their user name.

Fri Jan 14 16:17:29 2022

WOW, I just saw a couple clips of Twitter, rail tracks look like a 3rd world country, I can't believe no ones doing anything about it

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by: postbuster This user has validated their user name.

Fri Jan 14 16:20:21 2022

@toastedmutt

''Never ceases to amaze me how many low life scumbags there are out there...''

I'm afraid that would raise more taxes.
Alas, both my local and state just voted for pay increases for themselves.
Besides, Mr. Newsome's prison would be more expensive.

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by: Snapped This user has validated their user name.

Sat Jan 15 13:25:07 2022

Much also depends on whether this type crime is in Federal jurisdiction (interstate commerce) or State (locale and ‘private’ victims).  

Noted that no USPS packages were discovered in this incident.  Don’t know if that’s just circumstance, but it will likely be a wholly different focus if the USPI becomes involved and Federal Prison looms.  Armed guards have been a staple of Postal Rail ever since the golden spike days too…  

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by: thebobman This user has validated their user name.

Mon Jan 17 00:10:51 2022

If the police wont do anything about it (arrested and freed in 24hours), maybe the railroad cops should announce it on the radio and let the vigulantes take care of it and just happen to look the other way. Id gladly head over to the tracks a half mile away with an iron "beat down" pipe and make it look like they accidently got hit by a train.

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by: Stone Cutter This user has validated their user name.

Mon Jan 17 00:22:15 2022

Crime is busting out everywhere. No Governor will be able to solve these issues, overnight. From homicide to theft...the U.S. is currently knee deep in criminal activity. The U.S. is now entering a serious phase of "survival of the fittest". The poor has gotten poorer; especially during Covid, while Wall Street rages forward. And what about Climate Change that is causing stress on so many. The earth is shrinking with too may people while the size of the planet remains the same. Theft will not get better...it will only get worse. Be pro-active and prepare for life to become more difficult. I sure am....

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by: Chicago48 This user has validated their user name.

Mon Jan 17 05:29:22 2022

California is all about smash and grab now. Our great Governor Gavin says he's taking action but nothing changes.
^^
There's not much the Gov can do, it lies with the Legislature changing the laws.  We have a carjacking law on the books in Illinois (3 to 15 years) but NOBODY, not even the judges are sentencing the carjackers to 3 years.  They get a slap, an electronic monitor, and they're out on the streets again. The judges and prosecutors are NOT following the penalties for carjacks.  Most of the crimes are done by juveniles (acting in behalf of adult?) so they don't even go to juvenile jail anymore.  They're handed over to their parents.  Maybe the parents should serve the time?

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by: Chicago48 This user has validated their user name.

Mon Jan 17 05:31:46 2022

The RR's don't have security worth a dam.  AMZ, the USPS and others should sue the RR's for lost or stolen merchandise.  It doesn't take a lot to have drones hover over your rail cars to watch as security.  Or how about putting in guardrails that can't be cut?

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by: Simi MIke This user has validated their user name.

Mon Jan 17 06:07:11 2022

Back in the '70s & '80s when the rail cars hauling cars & trucks weren't enclosed thieves would jump on train cars stopped on sidings to steal transmissions & transfer cases out of vehicles ( vehicles were a lot easier to do that on in those days ). They enclosed the rail cars & the problem was solved.
The rail cars with cargo containers either need something similar or containers with better security devices on them.
If someone is caught stealing the punishment should be a few weeks picking up that trash along the railroads they help create.

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This user has validated their user name. by: LasVagueness

Mon Jan 17 10:57:25 2022

This (much like ubiquitous Californian homeless encampments), too, will soon be normalized. Since train plundering will be framed as 'victimless' and 'nonviolent' in conjunction with wussy D.A.s resulting in little to no jail time, it is incumbent on freight companies to install tamper-proof doors and locks.  

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by: thebobman This user has validated their user name.

Tue Jan 18 20:22:44 2022

<<< install tamper-proof doors and locks.

Whats the point, any of that can be defeated in short order with an angle grinder. You need to eliminate the criminal, not replace a twist tie with a zip tie

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This user has validated their user name. by: toolguy

Wed Jan 19 11:35:33 2022

Wait until the news starts filming other areas that this happens in.

Rail cars are targeted all across the nation, if the train stops for more then 30 minutes it's attacked with bolt cutters or cordless grinders
.



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