Thieves target another source for stolen goods: Delivery trucks and trains full of packages


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Images from video show emptied boxes along rail tracks in Los Angeles after thieves broke into Union Pacific cargo trains.
Source: NBC4 | Los Angeles

Instead of shoplifting from stores, some thieves are zeroing in on another target: Trains and delivery trucks full of packages on the way to customers’ doorsteps.

UPS Chief Executive Carol Tome said Friday that one of the company’s 18-wheeler trucks was robbed in Atlanta in the early hours of the morning. She said thieves hijacked the truck after the driver left one of the delivery company’s largest hubs.

“He was stopped at gunpoint. He was zip-tied, thrown into the back of his feeder car and they took the packages,” she said on CNBC’s “Squawk Box.” The robbery took place in late December, according to an NBC news report.

In downtown Los Angeles, a video from the local CBS station shows looted packages littering the train tracks. Thieves raided cargo containers and left behind cardboard boxes that had been carrying purchases from Amazon and REI, including some with UPS labels and tracking numbers, according to the report. Those abandoned boxes carried merchandise ranging from unused Covid tests and fishing lures to EpiPens, according to tweets from one of the TV station’s reporters.

According to a report from NBCLA, the thefts have been an ongoing issue in recent months.

Images from video show emptied boxes along rail tracks in Los Angeles after thieves broke into Union Pacific cargo trains.
Source: NBC4 | Los Angeles

Organized theft has gained more attention from major retailers and trade groups, after brazen smash-and-grabs at stores like Nordstrom and concerns that thieves can steal and sell goods anonymously online. CEOs of companies, including Target, Neiman Marcus, Levi Strauss & Co. and Walgreens a sent a letter to Congress last month, urging legislation that makes it harder for criminals to “hide behind fake screennames and false business information” on third-party marketplaces.

Best Buy CEO Corie Barry said the crimes — which are sometimes violent — have compounded staffing challenges for retailers who are trying to find and retain employees during the pandemic.

UPS’ Tome said the delivery company’s robberies have not noticeably changed in number. She said the company is helping customers who have affected packages and its security team “is leaning in in a big way to try to protect our customers’ packages and our cargo.”

“I wouldn’t say it’s materially higher, but it’s something that we all need to be concerned about,” she said.

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