5 arrested on suspicion of burglarizing train cars in Southern California

5 arrested on suspicion of burglarizing train cars in Southern California

Five people were arrested on suspicion of burglarizing train cars to steal packages in Torrance over the weekend, police said Tuesday, Feb. 1.

A witness called police after they saw the suspects carrying boxes from the train cars at around 11:30 p.m. on Sunday, Torrance police said in a statement. Officers arrived at the railroad tracks near 190th Street and Hawthorne Boulevard and quickly detained one suspect, then the four others shortly after while searching the area.

Officers found that locks were cut on some of the train cars and forced open, with several cars that had property missing, police said. Officers recovered small generators, taken from the train cars, still in their boxes near where the suspects were detained, according to police.

The burglaries come at a time when train car thefts have increased in recent months in the region, particularly in the downtown Los Angeles area.

“It’s been a problem here in Torrance as well, we’re addressing that and working with the rail car companies,” Torrance police Sgt. Mark Ponegalek said.

Including the incident on Sunday, there have been three rail car theft incidents within the past six months where Torrance police were called, Ponegalek said.

“But before that time, this was never a thing,” he said. “Working (for Torrance police for) 18 years, within the last 6 months you’ve seen these cases pop up.”