When a railroad boxcar was moved to a vacant track near the Vigo/Clay County line for wheel and brake system repairs Thursday, no one expected it to turn into a federal case.
But by 10 a.m. Friday morning, CSX Railroad Police Special Agent Sgt. Mark Stephens was called to the scene to investigate robbery and the tampering of the train car.
"Sometime during Thursday evening the bolt locks on the doors of the car were cut and pried off," Sgt. Stephens said Monday.
Tampering with railroad equipment is a federal crime that carries up to a 10-year sentence.
The theft of seven new white GE refrigerators, valued at $800 each, and the destruction of two others will carry even greater penalties.
Someone in the area has information about the theft and vandalism, investigators believe.
"The suspects made several trips overnight to unload the units," Stephens said. "Someone had to have seen something."
Facing several local charges of Burglary, Theft and Possession of Stolen property, suspects could be additionally charged with Railroad Federal Violations of Tampering with Railroad Cargo and Criminal Railway Trespass.
If any of the unknown suspects want to "come clean," return the stolen items and make full restitution, Stephens is willing to get the criminal charges reduced.
Anyone with information about the theft is requested to contact the CSX Railroad Police Central Office at 317-267-4811, Vigo County Sheriff's Deputy Steve Shaffer at 812-462-3226 or Detective Mike Heaton at the Clay County's Sheriff's Department at 448-9048.
CONTACT: Anyone with information about the theft should contact the CSX Railroad Police Central Office at 317-267-4811, Vigo County Sheriff's Deputy Steve Shaffer at 812-462-3226 or Detective Mike Heaton at the Clay County's Sheriff Department at 448-9048.