Two women are behind bars and one man is wanted in connection to a metal theft ring in Augusta. The Richmond County Sheriff's Office says the group was stealing railroad parts from The Norfolk Southern Railroad Yard, near International Boulevard and Doug Bernard Parkway.
Investigators have been working this case for a few weeks now, but it all started on July 31st when deputies pulled over a man and a woman who were driving an SUV packed with railroad parts. That woman is behind bars, but the Sheriff's Office is asking for your help to locate the man.
Karen Longfritz and Amanda Holsomback are behind bars in connection to the theft of several thousand pounds of metal. Richmond County investigators are still looking for Bobby Murray, who they say is also connected to the theft. Investigators say deputies initially pulled over Murray and Longfritz on July 31st.
"During the course of that traffic investigation, it was learned that they had in their possession, one thousand and 60 pieces of railroad tracks," Sgt. Michael McDaniel says.
After receiving some anonymous tips, investigators were lead to Holsomback's home, where they found about 1,400 more railroad parts. Investigators say the parts came from the Norfolk Southern Railroad.
"The defendants were actually sneaking onto railroad property and during the course of several days, stealing the spikes and the anchors. A certain amount at a time," McDaniel says.
McDaniel says the group wasn't taking the parts from active railroad tracks, but says the parts were being stored on the railroad yard.
Several railroad employees tell us that theft is becoming a major problem for them. They say that thieves walk up and down the tracks looking for scraps, and in some cases, drive trucks alongside the tracks to pickup larger items.
Even though the CSRA has a metal task force, investigators say criminals are finding new ways to steal metal.
"That seems to be a growing trend. It's been going on now for a few years. They take it to the metal scrap yards and they trade the metal in for cash," McDaniel says.
The Richmond County Sheriff's Office is still looking for Murray, so if you have any information, give them a call.
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