Men arrested for attempted railroad theft - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Men arrested for attempted railroad theft

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By  Stephanie Springer  - bio | email

ALBANY, GA (WALB) – Authorities have arrested two men for trying to steal rail from an abandon railroad track. Crisp County Sheriff Donnie Haralson says it's the first such theft in that county he's heard of but railroad officials say its been going on statewide for years and they are ready for it to stop.

A train hasn't gone down these tracks in more than 20 years but recently Justin Hauesler noticed some unusual activity down by the tracks.

"There was four individuals who said they were fixing to rip up the train tracks so I went to the office and called the authorities," said Hauesler.

Hauesler says the men tore up 20 foot sections of the railroad using a pickup truck and a wrecker truck.

"I thought they had lost their mind I mean your stealing train tracks in broad day light," said Hauesler.

Railroad officials say the rail is extremely heavy 75 pounds for every three feet.

"Deputies arrived there and discovered a suspect who said he had permission but upon further checking we found he did not and then we received another complaint a little ways down the same thing was happening," said Sheriff Donnie Haralson

69-year old Robert Gaston didn't have permission and was arrested. Authorities also arrested the driver 51-year old Soloman Holt.

"The guy at the railroad company told me it would cost 175 dollars a foot to replace what they destroyed," said Justin.

The items loaded up on the truck were valued at 1,500 dollars.

Officials with the Heart of Georgia railroad say they were in the process of restoring the tracks the men tore up. They normally use the scrap rail to offset the cost of the new rail.

"We've had people try to take the cross tie the train lies on but I've never heard of anyone who tried to take the track itself," said the Sheriff.

Authorities say they will continue to investigate the incident to see if it is an isolated incident or connected to something larger.

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