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Press Release

Defendants Sentenced To Prison For Stealing Over 500 Pounds Of Copper Wire From The Railroad Tracks In Northern Nevada

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of Nevada

            RENO, Nev.  -  Two of three defendants charged with stealing 520 pounds of copper wire from the railroad track power lines near Wells, Nev. in July 2011, causing approximately $5,000 in damage and disabling the railroad signal system, have been sentenced to 1½ years in federal prison and ordered to pay $4,960 in restitution to the Union Pacific Railroad, announced Daniel G. Bogden, United States Attorney for the District of Nevada.

            Allison Peters, 45, and Timothy Neal Bevel, 54, of Boise, Idaho, were sentenced in Reno on Monday, May 13, 2013, by U.S. District Judge Robert C. Jones.  A third defendant, Theron Andrew Peters, 49, also of Boise, Idaho, is scheduled to be sentenced by Judge Jones on June 10, 2013. They all pleaded guilty in January 2013 to one count of unlawful damage and impairment of a railroad signal system.

“The theft of copper wire from the power lines disables the train signal system and interferes with train communications,” said U.S. Attorney Bogden.  “These thefts are extremely dangerous and can jeopardize motorists and train occupants. Train operators may not receive information about hazards on the tracks or about other trains, leading to possible collisions between trains.”

            The Union Pacific/Amtrak signal system runs parallel to the train tracks used by both train companies.  According to the court records, on July 25, 2011, at approximately 2:30 a.m., the Union Pacific Railroad detected a signal line problem near the Tobar Township south of Wells, Nev.  A railroad signal maintainer traveled to the location, and found railroad power lines hanging down near the tracks and estimated that about five pole lengths of wire had been stolen. The defendants were arrested several hours later following a high speed chase that ended when the truck the defendants were traveling in got stuck in the desert.  The stolen copper wire, glass insulators, and bolt cutters were found discarded along the chase route.

            ECSO deputies later obtained and executed a search warrant for the truck and recovered gloves, binoculars, topographical maps of Idaho and Nevada, five cell phones, a digital camera, a police scanner, a spotlight, several sales receipts for the sale of copper wire to various recycling centers, a global positioning unit, a bolt cutter, a compass, and a laptop computer.  A search of the laptop computer revealed numerous files relating to copper, scrap metals, aerial photographs and a scrap metals composite index.  The recovered wire totaled 520 pounds.

            The investigation was conducted by the FBI and Elko County Sheriff’s Office, and the case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Brian L. Sullivan.
Updated January 29, 2015