MANTECA (CBS13) — A pair of thieves spent hours dismantling a section of the Manteca railroad tracks, only to have their plan derailed by a neighboring worker.
“They have no fear of getting caught, doing this in broad daylight, that’s just crazy,” said an Ace Tomato employee.
A man who didn’t want to appear on camera is one of many Ace Tomato employees working in the yard when he noticed the duo destroying the private railroad line.
“They were stealing the rails and the iron that held the rails together,” he told CBS13.
Working by hand, the men took their time with what had to be a tedious task.
“They were working hard doing it, they were using poles to wedge and pull everything up,” the Ace Tomato employee said.
The two men stripped 100 yards of the tomato company’s track, hoping to get away with a hefty load of iron to then cash in as scrap metal.
But, deputies arrived before the thieves could leave.
“To take parts of a train track, come on, that’s pretty brazen,” said Sgt. Les Garcia, San Joaquin Sheriff’s Department.
The destruction caused a hold up to the Union Pacific line because crews had to check for missing parts. And deputies say that if the thieves would have stripped the Union Pacific track, just a few feet away, they would have had to answer to the feds.
“If it was their property, they could be seriously facing some federal charges there,” said Sgt. Garcia.
The duo faces a long list of charges; meanwhile the company hopes to repair the damaged track.