Men working as a team crack open large shipping containers on idle trains then load stolen goods into trucks and vans. Some, they say, continue their missions even when a train is moving – jumping on a train and climbing atop the containers with power tools or bolt cutters to crack open the large metal boxes.
“This must stop. This is not the wild wild west,” said Christopher Tang, a professor at the UCLA Anderson School of Management who studies supply chains. “Back then, thieves would steal money but now they’re stealing merchandise that actually affects people’s lives.”
One of the country’s largest railroad companies, Union Pacific, said they’d seen about $5 million in damages and thefts and noted on average, more than 90 shipping containers are looted per day…
Tang said each shipping container can hold thousands of items and criminals have no way of knowing what is inside, forcing them to scour through items that might not be as valuable to them but are crucial to people’s lives and replenishing national shortages. He added that the thefts also have a ripple effect on consumers as prices go up to make up for losses.