California Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom donned work gloves and was recorded on video Thursday helping clean up the thousands of delivery boxes strewn along Los Angeles railroad tracks — the result of large-scale, organized looting from broken-into cargo cars that’s been an ongoing problem but which only received wider attention after images of the tracks went viral.
— John Schreiber (@John Schreiber)
Newsom spoke to reporters after taking a break from toting trashed cardboard boxes and other refuse — and said he was as shocked as everybody else after seeing what looked like a “third-world country” along the rails.
“I see what you see … I see what everybody’s seeing, asking myself, ‘What the hell is going on?’ I mean, it looked like a third-world country, these images, the drone images that were on the nightly news, day in and day out,” he said. “Some networks weaponizing them for their own political agenda, and others just reporting the damn news.”
He added that “this is not one-off; this is organized theft. They’re organized groups of folks that move from site to site. When there’s more attention — a bright light — on one site, they move to the next site.”
California’s Newsom blasts ‘organized theft’ of trains
KCBS-TV reported that Newsom also complained that those responsible for the package thefts “are arrested as … individuals, as though they are not connected to the whole — and we need to change that.” He said 280 suspected thieves have been arrested so far, the station added.
More from KCBS:
From October 2020 to October 2021 rail theft has exponentially increased by 356%, according to Union Pacific. In a letter addressed to the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s office, the company blamed what it called a “spiraling crisis” on the no cash bail policy put forth by the District Attorney’s office and said many of the arrested suspects return the next day.
“It’s not just arrest and walk away,” Newsom said, according to KCBS. “You got to do the work and present the case and see folks prosecuted — not condoning this behavior. There is nothing acceptable about this behavior.”
The station said the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, the Los Angeles Police Department, and the California Highway Patrol have been charged with cracking down on the rail theft.
Newsom mocked as a ‘hack’ and a ‘worthless dolt’
Newsom’s “what the hell is going on?” reaction seemed to push the mockery buttons of certain observers:
“‘Yeah, boy, how did that happen?’ he looked around asking,” podcaster and editor Stephen L. Miller offered sarcastically in regard to Newsom.
“What a hack,” another user said of the governor. “You advocate and support the policies that enable these felons to move from ‘site to site,’ robbing and threatening our safety. Resign you worthless dolt!”
“Folks? They’re ‘folks’ now? They’re criminals that are let loose back on the streets by the CA criminal justice system with little or no repercussions,” another commenter wrote. “Many the same day. Most studies show that a small number of criminals perpetrate a large % of crimes. Lock. Them. Up.”
“He does a photo-op cleaning up the mess, after pictures of this fiasco went viral,” another commenter noted. “As if this will solve the problem…”
“He’s complaining more about how the news covers it then talking about catching the criminals,” another observer noted.
A top Union Pacific official said the company would move its rail operations from Los Angeles County unless law enforcement stops the criminal activity — and noted that far-left policies are to blame.
Adrian Guerrero, general director of public affairs, sent a letter to Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascón demanding his office stop the “spiraling crisis of organized and opportunistic criminal rail theft.”
Guerrero also said that “over 90 containers are compromised per day.”