17 January 2022: Los Angeles, California

A Los Angeles Times report highlighted the supply chain problems and resulting thievery. Thieves in the area where trains have been waiting for the next leg of their journey have been pilfering the rail cars. Rails have been littered with torn plastic wrappers, cardboard boxes and packaging from a wave of rail car theft that has been on the rise in recent months. As a hub for the supply chain, Southern California has been especially hard hit. “Thieves are pilfering railroad cars in a crime that harks back to the days of horseback-riding bandits, but is fueled by a host of modern realities, including the rise of e-commerce,” the LA Times report says. “Union Pacific reported what it claimed was a 160% increase since December 2020 in thefts along the railroad tracks in L.A. County.” The supply chain crisis has exacerbated the situation due to bottlenecks where containers sit for weeks at a time waiting for the next leg of their journey to their destinations. Union Pacific, which operates 3,200 miles of railway in California, says it is deploying more drones, bringing in extra security and has enlisted the Los Angeles Police Department, California Highway Patrol and the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department to combat the thefts. Irfan Khan image.