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The Associated Press (AP) described boxes of guns found inside freight trains as “a gangster’s jackpot,” noting that the thieves often expected to find other merchandise during their criminal operation. More recently, such criminal gangs have become more adept at targeting firearms shipments transported via rail.
Court filings in a federal case against seven persons in a 2015 theft of firearms from a Chicago rail yard indicate that one suspect exclaimed, "Oh man! These ... are pretty!" The thieves claimed to rob freight cars "on a regular basis." Chicago police subsequently recovered several of the stolen firearms during interactions with suspected criminals.
The AP reported further on the 2015 heist: "The thieves belonged to two gangs and teamed up only after running into each other in the yard because they couldn't whisk enough guns away alone. A railway worker discovered the theft at 7 a.m. after spotting broken locks and bolt cutters. Within hours, the gangs were selling the stolen weapons, valued at around $50,000 in all."
On three “major gun thefts within three years” from Norfolk Southern rail yard in the Windy City, the AO claimed the stolen weapons “helped fuel a wave of violence on Chicago’s streets.”
The Chicago Tribune reported on a theft of more than 100 guns from a rail yard in Chicago’s South Side in June of 2015. The weapons were en route from a Ruger factory in New Hampshire to Washington.