Los Angeles train thefts: Union Pacific urges DA Gascon to 'reconsider' directive dismissing misdemeanors
Railroad company Union Pacific (UP) is urging Los Angeles District Attorney George Gascon to "reconsider" his directive that specifies 13 specific misdemeanor charges that will be dismissed with certain exceptions.
"But that's the reality of what Union Pacific has been facing over the past year, and it's helping us shine a light on this issue.
UP has about 1,600 employees in Los Angeles County and its own police department with primary jurisdiction over crimes committed on the railroad, according to its website.
In December 2021, Guerrero sent a letter to the district attorney pointing to rising retail theft crime in Los Angeles County over the past year as part of the problem and asking for assistance in addressing it on Los Angeles railroads.
UP experienced a 160% increase in criminal rail theft in Los Angeles County over the past year.
Guerrero's letter to Gascon continued: "UP and our goods movement partners strongly urge you to reconsider the policies detailed in Special Directive 20-07.
UP started taking note of an increase in rail theft in mid-December of 2020 when the directive was issued.
"While rail theft is a national issue…it's a state issue here in California.
Governor Gavin Newsom's office has been helpful in working to establish proactive measures to reduce organized theft, Guerrero said.
The issue of railroad tracks in generally poor condition is not new to the city.
Some cases presented to our office by Union Pacific have been filed, such as burglary and grand theft, while others have been declined due to insufficient evidence.
"Our office takes Union Pacific’s concerns seriously and hopes to discuss this issue more in the coming weeks," Bastian continued.