As if timed out to coincide with NBC4’s continuing coverage of train burglars, LA County Sheriff deputies took three men into custody near a rail yard in the City of Industry. It happened Tuesday afternoon.
Reporting from NBC4 in recent weeks showed new, heightened security at the Union Pacific railyard in East Los Angeles had made it harder for thieves to break onto the tracks and steal cargo. A train engineer for UP, speaking on the condition on anonymity, told NBC4 the new security was working and that he had seen an uptick in thefts near the railyard in Industry.
Sure enough, that’s what LA County Sheriff deputies saw, too. LASD Industry Station Sgt. Andre Kneubuhler says it was a passerby that saw the men trying to load a pick-up truck near the railyard and called police.
“A lot of the help is from the people driving by on Valley Boulevard who call and say hey we see guys running with packages from the train yard,” Kneubuhler said, “and we’re so close at the station, we have a quick response.”
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He says LASD happened to have their air unit up which got to the area first, spotting the men down below loading the truck.
“They observed the suspects loading merchandise into the truck, they looked up and saw our Air Bureau and jumped in the truck and took off,” he says. It led to a short pursuit that ended with all three men in custody. Union Pacific police arrived as well and are investigating the theft.
The area had seen an uptick in thefts since the East LA railyard put the cargo thefts story into the international spotlight, beginning with NBC4’s reporting last November. In February, the City of Industry took the lead to clear shrubs from the fencing around the railyard there, which LASD says helped clear out hiding spots.
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Kneubuhler says it lead to thieves having to spend much more time working their game to steal off the trains.
“They’ll cut the locks off the cargo container in the mornings,” he said. “And then have to come back later and park a truck close to the gate and then come back again and load into the cars.”
One of the three men remains in custody, accused of felony evasion along with theft; the other two were cited for theft and released. It will be up to LA County District Attorney George Gascon’s office as to whether all three will face charges.