NEW YORK Three men have
been arrested in connection with a copper heist at a railyard
in Pine Bluff, Ark., that caused $5.5 million in damage to 22
Union Pacific Railroad Co. engine cars, a local law enforcement
official told AMM.
Railroad police called the
Jefferson County Sheriffs Office on Feb. 25 to report
that 22 of 28 engine cars at the railyard had been stripped of
their copper, public information officer Major Lafayette Woods
Jr. told AMM.
Omaha, Neb.-based Union Pacific
estimated the damage at about $250,000 per engine car and
indicated that the engines might be a total loss, according to
a probable-cause affidavit from the sheriffs office.
"These (copper) lines stretch
from front to back, nine in each car, and could only have been
accessed by someone who was very familiar with rail cars,"
John Carrington, 45, Wesley
Clary, 29, and Billy Elliott, 40, were arrested at the railyard
the next day by railroad police and charged with multiple
crimes, including breaking and entering and theft of property.
Bond was set at $50,000 for Carrington and Clary and $25,000
"One of the suspects alleged
that most of the stolen copper was sold in Texas," Woods said.
"Either way, we hope to continue an investigation into the
individuals who are responsible for buying this stolen copper.
We anticipate that several other individuals may be charged in
the near future."
Woods said the incident could be
the biggest metal theft in Arkansas history. "They stole so
much copper that one of the suspects told us he was hoping to
retire on the job," he said. "Now he is in jail."
A Union Pacific spokeswoman said
the railroad is conducting "a thorough investigation."