Ina Steiner EcommerceBytes Blog
News and insight focusing on ecommerce.
by Ina Steiner, Editor of
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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