Letters to the Editor: What's behind those train package thefts? A railroad seeking a bigger profit

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Los Angeles, CA - January 15: A freight train navigates the tracks in downtown Los Angeles that has been littered with thousands of shredded boxes, packages stolen from cargo containers that stop in the area to unload in the vicinity of Mission Blvd. on Saturday, Jan. 15, 2022 in Los Angeles, CA. (Irfan Khan / Irfan Khan)
A freight train navigates tracks near downtown Los Angeles that have been littered with thousands of shredded boxes from stolen packages. (Los Angeles Times)

To the editor: No one condones theft, be it from trains, shops or homes. But Union Pacific Railroad must be extremely stupid to park trains unattended with millions of dollars of merchandise on board. ("'It's ugly out there': Rail thefts leave tracks littered with pilfered packages," Jan. 16)

Imagine a trucker leaving a loaded trailer in a dark alley overnight. Furthermore, the trailer doors are often only locked with thin wire seals, which are easily broken.

More to the point, Union Pacific and the other big carriers have taken to running ever longer trains in the interest of greater profit. These trains take hours to put together and so are stationary and vulnerable for much longer periods.

They should go back to running shorter, more frequent trains and keep their customers' merchandise moving and out of harm's way.

Paul Dyson, Burbank

The writer is a railroad transportation consultant.


To the editor: As I unfolded The Times' Sunday print edition, I grew disturbed as I viewed the photo and read the article on the theft of packages from shipping containers on trains east of downtown Los Angeles.

It seems Butch and Sundance with their Hole-in-the-Wall gang are alive and well in Lincoln Heights.

The Los Angeles Police Department is blaming another body for the thefts, and our esteemed district attorney is concerned about other matters. I guess our sheriff soon will come riding down the tracks in his white Stetson and save the day.

Timothy Chrisney, Arcadia

This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.

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