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Here’s Why Train Robberies Are Becoming A Big Problem Again

The rise in e-commerce has given modern-day thieves a new incentive. Here’s Why Train Robberies Are Becoming A Big Problem Again Shutterstock

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If you’re a U.S. history buff or a sucker for a good true-crime tale, you’ve probably come across more than a few stories about brazen train robberies by the likes of Butch Cassidy or Jesse James.

But trains are still chugging along tracks in every corner of the country, and the rise in online shopping has once again made them attractive targets for thieves.

“It was euphoric for him”

Just as during the 19th century spike in train robberies, there are countless criminals finding new ways to pilfer the goods aboard these cars — with a few names that stand out as among the most prolific and daring.

One such individual is Victor Llamas, according to Los Angeles detective Joe Chavez, whose investigation of a rise in train robberies sent him on a collision course with the unrepentant offender.

Chavez said the suspect seemed driven not only by profit, but also by the thrill he got in the process.

“He said that was the best feeling he’d ever had, jumping on the train while it was moving,” the detective said. “It was euphoric for him.”

“What the hell is going on?”

L.A. has received the dubious distinction as the epicenter of this recent spike in train robberies, but it’s happening at a troubling rate all over the U.S. In November 2021, footage showed a section of track littered with goods and debris after thousands of boxes were nabbed from a train.

Cargo theft has more than doubled since 2019 and Union Pacific said in early 2022 that such reports on its trains increased 160% in just one year.

California Gov. Gavin Newsom said what many folks were thinking when he showed up at the site of a post-robbery litter-covered track: “What the hell is going on?”

Chris Agee
Chris Agee January 25th, 2024
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