7 arrested in connection with theft of tons of railroad rail

Posted at 4:04 PM, Sep 18, 2013
and last updated 2013-09-18 18:04:59-04

CARBON COUNTY, Utah – Seven people were arrested in connection the theft of railroad rail and equipment from several locations, and the estimates place the thefts at roughly 52 tons of metal for a loss of more than $100,000.

Carbon County Sheriff’s Office deputies were dispatched to the Gordon Creek/Pinnacle Peak area on August 28 after receiving reports that several people were taking rail from the Utah Railway Hiawatha line.

According to a press release from the Carbon County Sheriff’s Office, it was discovered that a large amount of rail and other metal materials were stolen and then sold as scrap for a large sum of money.

Police made a traffic stop on two vehicles matching earlier reports regarding the theft. One vehicle, a flatbed truck, had numerous pieces of railroad rail in the bed of the vehicle. The rail had been cut into pieces using a torch so it could be loaded in the truck.

After investigating, authorities learned the rail had been taken from a remote location along the Utah Railway Hiwatha Railroad line. Shelly Buchanan, Jose Gurule and Pam Thompson were arrested and booked into the Carbon County Jail. Each was charged with theft and criminal mischief, which are third-degree felonies.

Further investigation revealed thefts of rail and other equipment at five other locations. Utah Railway reported their losses at $108,000 with the potential for more losses as the investigation continues, according to the press release.

During the course of the investigation, four more arrests were made. Guy Grant, Robert Straley, Brian Oliverson and William Wilson have each been booked into the Carbon County Jail and charged with theft and criminal mischief, each of which are third-degree felonies.

According to the press release, the suspects were stealing the material because of its value in the metal recycling business. Utah  Railway reports they are missing more than 52 tons of metal, and the investigation estimates the suspects made as much as $10,000 from the theft and sale of the material.

Authorities thanked citizens for reporting suspicious activity, and they asked anyone who witnesses suspicious activities to contact the Price Dispatch Center at 435-637-0890 or the Carbon County Sheriff’s Office at 435 -636 -3251.