Alleged Crooks Caught Selling Stolen Wire From Railroad

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DENNISON TOWNSHIP -- Police say about 900 feet of wiring was swiped from a railroad in Luzerne County.

The crooks were caught on surveillance camera selling the metal, according to authorities.

Charges were filed this week against two men from Hazle Township but court records say this crime happened in June.

Scrap yard workers tell us the payout was only a fraction of the damage that was done.

Surveillance video led police to the duo accused of stealing 900 feet of wire from Reading and Northern Railroad.

Court records say metal from the main power signal line was swiped in June from along the tracks in Dennison Township.

When police called scrap yards throughout Luzerne County, workers at Eastern Metal Recycling near Hazleton told officers that two men had just dropped off 140 pounds of wire packed in the back of an SUV.

"It was actually steel wire with copper coating on it, so they must have thought that it was copper when they brought it in," said Ryan Ramey at Eastern Metal Recycling.

When they pulled up on this scale, the crooks did not get the deal they were looking for, according to workers. Copper goes for about $3 per pound, while steel sells for just about 9 cents."

"It's like robbing a bank full of Monopoly money."

Ramey says the two men were paid $13.30 for the 140 pounds of metal.

Police say the damage cost Reading and Northern Railroad more than $930 to repair.

Ramey says he photocopies every customer's driver's license and with this surveillance video, police were able to track down Brent Witner and Shawn Grier of Hazle Township.

Now, theft charges are being sent in the mail to both men.

"Based on the amount of damage that they caused by stealing it, what they got was very insignificant."

We tried calling the railroad company in Schuylkill County to see if the theft put train operators or drivers crossing the tracks in any danger. so far officials have not returned our calls.


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