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Theft of rails leads to $100,000 in damages

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Officials are calling it Laurinburg's not-so great train robbery, The Laurinburg, N.C., Exchange reports. Someone stole about 800 feet of railroad beams and caused several train cars to derail. The accident occurred on some tracks between McFarland and Shaw Currie roads.

An official with Gulf &
Ohio Railways Inc. said the culprits probably hope to sell the 22,000 pounds of
steel. But a new state law may make the sale of the stolen metal difficult. The
state General Assembly passed a law in 2009 prohibiting the sale of scrap metal
without proof of ownership.

Peter "Doc"
Claussen, Gulf and Ohio vice president, estimated that it took the thieves more
than eight hours to cut and remove the rails.

"Scrap merchants are
forbidden from buying railroad property without a letter of
authorization," Claussen said. "So they can’t even sell the metal.
All that work and it probably was for nothing."

Claussen said some empty
train cars traveling on the track Wednesday morning were derailed by the
missing tracks. No one was injured in the incident, which occurred at about 10
a.m., but the damage to the train was estimated at about $100,000.

Officials with the
Department of Homeland Security have been notified of the incident.

The railroad is also
offering a $1,000 reward for information about the crime.

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