Copper thieves target New Mexico railway tracks

The BNSF Railway has fallen victim to copper thieves, and what they’re stealing is putting you in danger.

The railway says it’s become a frequent problem. The most recent incident happened along the tracks in Raton. 

“Anything that is of value that somebody may want to take, even though it’s scrap metal to them, it’s important to our rail system,” said Joe Sloan with BNSF. 

BNSF says the most recent theft is under investigation, but because theft is a problem they try to bury as many wires as possible to try to deter and prevent theft. 

There are more than 2,000 miles of railroad in New Mexico, and hundreds of crossings. The crossing signals are regularly checked and repaired if they are damaged. If a thief strikes and a crossing starts to malfunction, BNSF says the signal will activate and a tech will go out to fix it. 

“Continually we have track inspectors, we have signal staff, we have resource inspection, and of course, our crews running on track…if they notice anything they’ll report it,” said Sloan.  

However, there is still concern these thieves are putting people in danger. A local metal recycling business says that when these thefts happen, a scrap theft alert is sent out so the metal scrap companies look out for anything that looks like it belongs to BNSF or the other railways.

They say they also try to get information from everyone that comes in, just in case they happen to purchase stolen copper. 

BNSF says it’s also been notified by many recycling companies that its copper was brought to them, and they found the BNSF logo on the material. 

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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