Three men charged with cutting, stealing rail from Norfolk Southern tracks

  • Posted: Wednesday, May 1, 2013 10:48 a.m.
Anthony Strickland
Anthony Strickland

Authorities charged three men with cutting and stealing the rails from a Norfolk Southern railroad track at an intersection near South Main Street and Grace Church Road. The incident occurred Tuesday afternoon after a train engineer called to say he almost derailed because of the incident. The suspects were cutting and loading rails from a side track, a department report said.

The Norfolk Southern Railroad Police charged the following:


• Anthony James Strickland, 25, of the 3500 block of West Center Street Extension, Lexington, with misdemeanor impeding/preventing or impairing train operation, felony larceny, misdemeanor willful injury to property of railroads and misdemeanor trespassing on a railroad right of way. Strickland remains in the Rowan County Detention Center under a $10,000 secured bond.

• Benjamin Douglas Cleveland, 24, of the 400 block of Statesman Drive, Salisbury, with misdemeanor impeding/preventing or impairing train operation, felony larceny, misdemeanor willful injury to property of railroads and misdemeanor trespassing on a railroad right of way. Cleveland remains in the Rowan County jail under a $10,000 secured bond.

• Gregory Michael Grimes, 49, of the 1100 block of Cold Water Extension, Landis, with misdemeanor impeding/preventing or impairing train operation, felony larceny, misdemeanor willful injury to property of railroads and misdemeanor trespassing on a railroad right of way.

Grimes remains in the Rowan County Detention Center under a $10,000 secured bond.

A Rowan County Sheriff’s deputy responded to a call at 4:30 p.m. Tuesday that originated from railroad personnel regarding suspicious activity on the tracks. A train hit the rail the men cut, dragging the rail across the main track. The train had to make an unscheduled stop.

The deputy pulled into the parking lot behind Carnicera Y Taqueria Worship Center in the 2500 block of South Main Street, and began walking along the tracks.

The officer approached dirt and debris on the tracks before spotting three males, one of whom was operating a Bobcat skid steer. The men had a 20-foot trailer loaded with several cut pieces of rail. They had been using a band saw to cut the rails and a generator to power the equipment.

The men told the deputy they had permission to be there. Cleveland told the deputy he’d been riding his all-terrain vehicle earlier on the property and spoke with someone named Terry who gave them permission to cut the rail. Rowan Sheriff’s officials say they don’t believe the men spoke to anyone. The men also did not have permission to cut the rails, said Rowan Sheriff’s Capt. John Sifford.

The area the men were cutting the rails from was located near a wooded area on a side track. The Rowan County Sheriff’s Office seized a Dodge Ram pickup, a trailer and other equipment.

Contact reporter Shavonne Potts at 704-797-4253. Twitter: www.twitter.com/salpostpotts Facebook: www.facebook.com/Shavonne.SalisburyPost.


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