Steel Wire Stolen from Railroad

Scrap yard workers tell us the payout was only a fraction of the damage that was done.

Surveillance video led police to the duo accused of stealing 900 feet of wire from Reading and Northern Railroad.

Court records say metal from the main power signal line was swiped in June from along the tracks in Dennison Township.

When police called scrap yards throughout Luzerne County, workers at Eastern Metal Recycling near Hazleton told officers that two men had just dropped off 140 pounds of wire packed in the back of an SUV.

“It was actually steel wire with copper coating on it, so they must have thought that it was copper when they brought it in,” said Ryan Ramey at Eastern Metal Recycling.

When they pulled up on this scale, the crooks did not get the deal they were looking for, according to workers. Copper goes for about $3 per pound, while steel sells for just about 9 cents.”

“It’s like robbing a bank full of Monopoly money.”

Ramey says the two men were paid $13.30 for the 140 pounds of metal.

Police say the damage cost Reading and Northern Railroad more than $930 to repair.

Ramey says he photocopies every customer’s driver’s license and with this surveillance video, police were able to track down Brent Witner and Shawn Grier of Hazle Township.

Now, theft charges are being sent in the mail to both men.

“Based on the amount of damage that they caused by stealing it, what they got was very insignificant.”

Watch Steel Wire Stolen video here:


Tips To help reduce your company’s risk of metal theft:

– Post “No Trespassing” signs around the property, and/or signs indicating the presence of a surveillance or security system
– Secure buildings with deadbolts, and door and window locks
– Trim or remove landscaping that allows criminals to hide from view
– Eliminate items that allow easy access to buildings and roofs, such as trees, ladders, scaffolding, dumpsters and pallet piles
– Install a security camera with video recorder and keep recordings for a sufficient period
– Don’t receive supplies earlier than needed
– Mark metals with your company’s name using paint, hard-to-remove decals, or engraving
– Create a master list of all of your equipment and bulk metal, and include pictures and serial numbers if present