Amtrak Employee Charged with Stealing and Selling over $50,000 Worth of Chainsaws and Chainsaw Parts
NEWARK, N.J. – An Amtrak employee was arrested last night for stealing chainsaws and chainsaw parts valued at over $50,000 from Amtrak and reselling them, primarily through an online auction service, Acting U.S. Attorney Rachael A. Honig announced today.
Jose Rodriguez, 48, of Brick, New Jersey, is charged by complaint with one count of theft from an agency receiving federal funds and one count of theft of government property. Rodriguez is scheduled to appear via videoconference this afternoon before U.S. Magistrate Judge Mark Falk in Newark federal court.
According to the documents filed in this case and statements made in court:
Rodriguez has been an Amtrak employee since October 2007, most recently as a senior engineer and repairman, based out of an Amtrak facility in North Brunswick, New Jersey. Between August 2016 and July 2020, Rodriguez obtained 77 chainsaws, 103 bars, and 163 chains from Amtrak, the total value of which was over $50,000. Rodriguez used an online auction service to sell most of the Amtrak chainsaws and parts to purchasers throughout the United States. Rodriguez also directly contacted one purchaser on multiple occasions offering to sell chainsaws and parts the day before or the same day that Rodriguez picked up chainsaws and parts from Amtrak. Agents recovered several chainsaws that Rodriguez sold, which had serial numbers matching Amtrak’s chainsaws. One of those chainsaws had previously been reported stolen by Amtrak.
The offenses charged in the complaint each carry a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison and maximum fine of $250,000.
Acting U.S. Attorney Honig credited detectives from Amtrak Police New York Division and Mid-Atlantic Division, under the direction of Chief Sam Dotson, and special agents from Amtrak Office of Inspector General, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Michael J. Waters, Eastern Field Office, with the investigation leading to the charges.
The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Cari Fais and Jeffrey Manis of the Office’s Special Prosecutions Division in Newark.
The charges and allegations contained in the complaint are merely accusations, and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.