LOS ANGELES (NewsNation Now) — If you’re expecting a package, you might want to check it out. Thousands of Amazon and UPS packages in transit to people across the country were recently found searched and abandoned on the side of train tracks in Los Angeles. Along the side of the tracks were packages addressed to recipients from Seattle to Las Vegas and other locations across the country.
The items in those boxes ranged from family portraits, boots and medicine to rapid COVID-19 tests, swabs and PPE. Among the most expensive items encountered by Nexstar’s NewsNation was a box of Humira – an arthritis drug that can cost patients more than $6,000.
Union Pacific said it was seeing an increase in cargo theft and had to add more special agents to monitor runways in the area.
“Union Pacific is very concerned about the increase in cargo theft in California, and we have taken several steps to combat this criminal activity,” Union Pacific said in a statement. “These rail crimes pose a serious threat to the safety of the public, our employees and local law enforcement.”
Similar incidents were also reported in November.
Amazon reported the comments to law enforcement, but said any customer missing a package should contact Amazon customer service to report it.
“Amazon will look into the matter, try to find a solution/track the package and/or reimburse the customer for their expenses,” a statement from the company said.
In addition to increasing the number of Union Pacific Special Agents on patrol, the UP is also exploring additional technologies to help combat criminal activity.
“We will also continue to work with our local law enforcement partners and elected leaders,” Union Pacific said.
Union Pacific said criminal rail theft has increased 160% in Los Angeles County over the past year. They estimate that more than 100 people were arrested for vandalizing trains during the high holiday season last year.
Despite this, Union Pacific said it has not been contacted for any legal proceedings. In a letter to Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascón, they asked him to reconsider a special directive that states certain misdemeanors, such as trespassing, should be dismissed if there is no peripheral factors to be taken into account.
Union Pacific said in the letter that it understands the social justice goals of the policy, but also wants to hold people accountable and protect its employees.