Savannah Hulsey Pointer, FISM News
More than 80 guns were stolen from cargo containers near downtown Los Angeles according to The Associated Press in their Saturday report. The theft is believed to have taken place several months ago, though it recently came to light as most the guns are still missing.
According to police 36 .22-caliber handguns and 46 shotguns were part of the missing shipment from Tennessee, and officials worry that this could just be the tip of the iceberg.
Four days ago, Fox News reported on the gun theft, citing LA police Chief Michel Moore who told his city’s board of police commissioners on Monday that “tens of firearms” had been stolen:
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.
Even though law enforcement was aware of the missing firearms, only “a handful” of the firearms from trains passing through Lincoln Heights have been recovered, according to local authorities.
One suspect in the robbery said that the guns came from the cargo trains in LA’s Lincoln Heights rail yards and shortly thereafter LA police and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives arrested two other suspects with shotguns, however, authorities are unsure exactly how many weapons have been stolen, according to Capt. German Hurtado of the LAPD.
“I’ve got 24 years in LAPD, ex-military, secret clearance and I have to wait 10 days to get a new firearm and these guys are going into these containers with no locks and getting guns,” Hurtado told the LA Times. “These guns were unguarded, unprotected … God knows how many guns have been stolen that way.”
News about the railyard’s aggressive thievery problem made national news just weeks ago when footage of thousands of packages strewn along the tracks went viral online.
I’m told by law enforcement these @UPS bags are especially sought after by thieves opening cargo containers… they are often full of boxes with merchandise bound for residential addresses. More valuable than say, a cargo container full of low value bulky items like toilet paper. pic.twitter.com/Tj5bQNIeby
— John Schreiber (@johnschreiber) January 13, 2022
After the issue came to light, California Gov. Gavin Newsom led a cleanup of the railyards and promised to work on coordinating a response to the thefts, though he made no mention of the missing guns.
The Union Pacific railway is also aware of the issue, according to spokesperson Robynn Tysver who said that the has brought in dozens of special agents to help and “will continue to monitor and clean up the tracks” but declined to comment on the gun thefts, the LA Times said.
The issue has become so prevalent that The New York Times wrote a piece called “Sifting Through the Train Thefts of Los Angeles,” where they estimated that the LA area Union Pacific rail hub covered in goods looted from train cars had a value of about $5 million.
CBSLA additionally reported on Jan. 14 that Union Pacific reported train robberies were up 356%.
“I have been with Union Pacific for 16 years, and I have never, ever seen this situation to this degree,” said Lupe Valdez, Union Pacific’s senior director of public affairs. The UP employee went on to say that 90 of their containers are compromised every day.
Valdez said, “We are making arrests, but what our officers are seeing on the ground is that people are basically being arrested, there is no bail, they come out the next day and come back to rob our trains.”