The media coverage in the last week of the rampant railway robberies occurring in Los Angeles over the last week has led some federal lawmakers to call on Joe Biden’s Attorney General Merrick Garland to bring federal law enforcement in to help attack the “Wild West” style crime wave.
Journalist John Schreiber published a video last week of the Union Pacific railway in LA County showing looted and destroyed packages “as far as the eye can see.” The ransacked packages included Amazon and UPS boxes and every consumer product.
Schreiber said police told that UPS bags are mainly targeted by thieves who break into cargo containers. Those boxes are more likely to contain valuable consumer goods than bulk products like toilet paper.
Rep. Tom Tiffany (R-WI) led a group of House members asking Garland to bring Department of Justice assets to bear on the situation. Tiffany’s letter sent on Wednesday noted the Biden Administration’s claim that supply chain disruptions are to blame for empty store shelves and “skyrocketing consumer prices.” He said that the supply chain crisis directly results from White House policies and is complicated by government officials like LA County District Attorney George Gascón and Garland. They “turn a blind eye” to crime.
Fourteen other House members joined Rep. Michelle Steel (R-CA) in sending a similar letter to Garland on Thursday. Steel said that because the stolen goods are marked for nationwide delivery, the FBI and Justice Department should “play a vital role” in prosecuting the crimes in federal court. The letter added that a continued lack of federal urgency would only lead to further supply chain delays.
Last week, Union Pacific called on LA District Attorney Gascón to withdraw his Special Directive 20-07, which calls for dismissing many misdemeanor criminal cases before arraignment.
A spokesman for Gascón’s office said that the prosecutor is committed to ensuring “collective safety” across the county’s “sprawling infrastructure,” including railroad tracks. The statement went on to say that the district attorney makes charging decisions “based on the evidence.”