Rail Theft on the Rise: Union Pacific Blames New District Attorney

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Currents News Staff

In Downtown Los Angeles, packages are being stolen from trains and trash on the tracks is the aftermath. 

“What the hell is going on?” said California Gov. Gavin Newsom. “I mean, looks like a Third World country.”

Union Pacific blames in large part, LA’s new-ish, woke-ish district attorney elected in the wake of George Floyd’s murder and flanked, for his one year anniversary presser, by progressive DA’s from around the country. 

“We have set a path for ourselves to turn around the criminal legal system in this country,” said District Attorney George Gascon.

Gascon has ordered his deputy DA’s: no under-18s charged as adults; no more ‘three strikes’; and in many cases: do not even prosecute most misdemeanors like trespassing; and don’t seek more prison time if guns or gangs are involved all, he says, to make the system…

“More humane, more equitable,” Gascon said.

But Union Pacific is now actually asking the DA to rethink his reforms because of this: they claim more than more than 100 arrests have been made, but apparently not one prosecution. 

“They have not presented 100 cases, ok,” Gascon said.

Gascon is also taking heat after a spate of smash and grab robberies before Christmas.

“Whether it’s fair or not to point the finger at him, the finger is being pointed,” said Loyola Law School Professor Laurie Levenson.

Gascon is also taking heat for some headline-making murders: a well-loved Beverly Hills philanthropist shot dead in her home, a 70-year-old nurse murdered at a bus stop and a young clerk stabbed to death in a furniture store. 

The DA easily survived on recall attempt last year, but now faces another.

“He has abandoned all of us victims, in favor of criminals,” said mother of the victim Desiree Andrade.

The union that represents Gascon’s own deputy DA’s is suing him.

“Yes it is rare,” said Vice President of The Association of Deputy District Attorneys for Los Angeles County, Eric Siddall.

Claiming the directives ‘are not merely radical, but plainly unlawful.’

“He has created this environment where there’s no accountability,” said Siddall. “Criminals are arrested and within 24 hours they’re back on the street committing crime.”

Professor Levenson says they need new directives.

“I don’t think we have the statistics to show how these new directives are really impacting what’s happening on the streets of L. A.,” she said.

Latest stats from the sheriff show robbery, burglary and arson have actually fallen since Gascon took office.But like many places, murder is way up. The sheriff calls Gascon’s tenure ‘god awful’.

“I can say it’s been an absolute disaster for the community. It’s been a disaster for public safety,” said LA County Sheriff Alex Villanueva.

Gascon’s response: “My dad used to say that when you wrestle with a pig, you both get muddy and the pig likes it.”

For now, Gascon’s reforms roll on.

“If at some point the voters decide this is not the direction they wanna go and they wanna go in a different direction: that’s what a democracy is all about,” he said.

Gascon just wrote back to Union Pacific about all those stolen packages, passing the buck back to them. 

“UP does little to secure or lock trains,” he wrote. 

Union Pacific says it started reporting the increase in robberies around November of 2020 and just last Thursday, California Governor Newsom announced a multi-agency push to clean up the tracks as well as a planned state effort to combat the robberies.