Deputy tracks down men cutting and stealing railroad tracks | Crime
SALISBURY - It was a sight that disturbed an engineer on board a Norfolk Southern freight train Tuesday afternoon. The engineer noticed three men who appeared to actually be cutting up railroad tracks.
The engineer reported that what he saw as something that could have caused him to derail the train. A deputy who was in the area of Grace Church Road and South Main Street went to investigate, pulling into the parking lot at the Carnicera y Taqueria property and then walking behind the building to the wooded area at the railroad tracks.
The deputy reported finding three men using tools and a generator, cutting up rails on a track that were beside the main line track. In the report the deputy notes finding one man operating a skid steer with the forks of the machine under the railroad tracks. The deputy found 258 feet of rail that had been cut with a value of more than $20,000.
One of the men, Benjamin Cleveland, told the deputy that the property owner had given him permission to take the rail. He said the property owner was selling the property to "some Italians," and wanted it cleaned up.
The rails that were being cut were not part of the main line, but part of an old railroad siding that went to a now abandoned plant on Highway 29.
Deputies seized the equipment, including the skid steer, and a Ram truck and trailer. Police from Norfolk Southern charged Cleveland, along with Anthony Strickland and Gregory Grimes with trespassing, felony larceny, and interfering or tampering with the operation of the railroad. Each man was jailed under $10,000 bond.