Dozens of guns among items stolen from freight trains in Los Angeles

Authorities say dozens of handguns and shotguns were among the items stolen by thieves who raided cargo containers on trains near downtown Los Angeles for months

LOS ANGELES — Dozens of handguns and shotguns were among items stolen by thieves who raided cargo containers on trains near downtown Los Angeles for months, authorities said .

Police arrested three people last summer carrying new .22 caliber handguns, the Los Angeles Times reported on Saturday. A trace of the weapons revealed they were from a batch of 36 handguns that went missing while being shipped by train to Tennessee, police officials said.

One of the suspects said the weapons came from freight trains at Lincoln Heights rail yards in Los Angeles, where large-scale thefts have been reported. Shortly after, Los Angeles police and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives arrested two more suspects with shotguns. The guns were determined to be part of a missing shipment of 46 shotguns, The Times reported.

Only a handful of the 82 guns known to have been stolen from trains passing through Lincoln Heights have been recovered. Investigators do not yet know how many other weapons may have been stolen, Captain German Hurtado told The Times.

“I’m 24 in the LAPD, ex-military, secret clearance and I have to wait 10 days to get a new gun and these guys come into these containers with no locks and get guns,” Hurtado said. “These guns were not guarded or guarded…God knows how many guns have been stolen this way.”

The cargo thefts captured national attention earlier this month after local television stations showed images of thousands of discarded boxes of stolen packages covering the tracks.

No mention of stolen weapons was made when Gov. Gavin Newsom recently led a rail yard cleanup and promised state coordination to track down the thieves.