Friday, May 27, 2022

California governor promises to assist in crackdown on LA rail theft

California Governor Gavin Newsom is promising statewide coordination as law enforcement and prosecutors go after thieves who have been raiding cargo containers on trains near downtown Los Angeles for months, leaving the tracks blanketed with discarded boxes. has gone.

The governor joined a cleanup team from the state’s Department of Transportation on Thursday, filling dozens of garbage bags with crushed cardboard from packages stolen from retailers en route to people across America.

Last week TV news stations broadcast overhead video showing thousands of boxes scattered by thieves along a Union Pacific railroad line northeast of downtown in the Lincoln Park area. NBC4 footage showed two men, one of whom looked like a bolt cutter, running along the tracks.

“It looked like a third world country, these images, the drone images that were in the night news,” Newsom told reporters gathered along the clean tracks on Thursday.

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The governor said his new budget proposal includes funds to expand the Organized Retail Theft Task Force, created last year when organized groups of robbers ransacked retail stores in Los Angeles, San Francisco and other cities. Was seen.

Newsom said train thieves are equally organized and need to be prosecuted.

“These people have been arrested as if they are individuals who are not being connected to the whole, and we need to change that,” he said.

The Governor said that at least 280 arrests have been made in connection with the train theft. But they did not know the period in which the arrests took place or where they are in the prosecution process.

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In December, Union Pacific sent a letter to LA County District Attorney George Gascon urging more aggressive prosecution for cargo thieves and calling for an end to the no-bell policy for some defendants, whose The aim was to reduce overcrowding in prisons during the coronavirus pandemic.

“These individuals are usually caught and released on the streets in less than 24 hours. The perpetrators claim our officers will pawn the charges for simple trespassing – with no dire consequences,” the letter said.

The statewide policy of imposing $0 bail for misdemeanor and lower level felony expired in 2020, but was kept within the LA County Superior Court System. Republicans have repeatedly called for an end to zero-bail.

Men look at a railing at the Union Pacific Railroad site on January 20, 2022 in Los Angeles.

“Criminals know how to exploit California’s policies to their advantage,” said state Senate Republican Leader Scott Wilk, whose district includes northern LA County.

Gascon’s office said it is “committed to working with law enforcement to ensure collective safety across the vast infrastructure of Los Angeles County, whether at our ports or railroad tracks.”

“Some cases submitted by Union Pacific to our office have been filed, such as theft and grand theft, while others have been denied due to insufficient evidence. We decide to charge based on evidence. Our office Union takes Pacific’s concerns seriously and looks forward to discussing the issue further in the coming weeks,” said Alex Bastian, Special Adviser to Gascon.

A group of Republican US representatives on Thursday sent a letter to US Attorney General Merrick Garland calling for federal aid in cracking down on thefts that disrupt supply chains.

The California Highway Patrol said it is expanding its own retail theft task force that will allow it to increase patrols and better coordinate with police, the sheriff’s department and the Union Pacific’s security force. Union Pacific and other railroad firms employ their own state-recognized police forces to protect their rail lines.

CHP Captain Charlie Sampson said the expansion of the task force would allow for more patrol officers and investigators.

“We’ve already hired personnel for this, and the commander who’s going to oversee it,” Sampson said. “And it’s going to be a full-time effort.”

On Wednesday, LA County Sheriff Alex Villanueva said a special unit within his department that focused on cargo theft had been terminated due to funding cuts. He said his office, along with Union Pacific and federal agencies, is working on a plan to add more security and patrols to the tracks.


This article is republished from – Voa News – Read the – original article.

Nation World News Desk
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