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 Post subject: The strange saga of C&O 1309 restoration just got stranger..
PostPosted: Tue Feb 13, 2018 5:02 pm 

Joined: Thu Oct 21, 2004 7:24 am
Posts: 504
Location: Canada
We here at the Chesapeake and Ohio #1309 page have remained quiet since the management change at WMSR. We did this to try to stay out of the inevitable political discussions that were bound to occur, as well as to not promote the “new approach” the new management had towards rebuilding #1309 which time has been shown to be slow at best.

However, we were informed yesterday of what could be a major setback to #1309’s restoration efforts. This setback is not the result of wear or unexpected findings, but massive employee theft. While the details are not known and strangely not being talked about by WMSR, this is what we understand: brass and bronze parts, both loose and already installed on #1309 as well as business car #204, have been stolen. Parts stolen include bearing brass, wear liners, and potentially other assemblies (including some that have already been rebuilt). Parts believed to be stolen from the business car include the end platform brass railings and many of the cast brass light fixtures and hardware from inside the car. The alleged theft reportedly started around September of 2017. The replacement value of the hard-to-find and machined parts could easily reach $100,000.

While it is believed that most of the material was sold to a scrap dealer, please keep a look out on EBay, at railroad shows, and other forums where such parts can be sold.

Part of the information for this announcement was taken from the Allegany County (MD) Sheriff’s office Facebook page. If you have any information, please forward it to them. If you do not want to contact them directly, please feel free to contact us here at Chesapeake and Ohio #1309 and well will forward any information anonymously."


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 Post subject: Re: The strange saga of C&O 1309 restoration just got strang
PostPosted: Tue Feb 13, 2018 5:25 pm 

Joined: Thu Sep 14, 2017 4:38 pm
Posts: 27
Would you care to link to the report? I could not find references to it


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 Post subject: Re: The strange saga of C&O 1309 restoration just got strang
PostPosted: Tue Feb 13, 2018 6:00 pm 

Joined: Tue Jan 25, 2005 4:03 pm
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https://www.facebook.com/WMSRailroad/po ... 7130242970

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 Post subject: Re: The strange saga of C&O 1309 restoration just got strang
PostPosted: Tue Feb 13, 2018 6:32 pm 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 1:51 pm
Posts: 8859
Location: Somewhere north of Prescott, AZ on the Santa Fe "Peavine"
Since it is a media release, I'm reposting here for the Facebook-averse:

Quote:
Western Maryland Scenic Railroad Announces Theft of Historic Artifacts and Railroad Equipment Parts; Progress on 1309 Restoration

OFFICE OF THE EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, CUMBERLAND, MD. (February 13, 2018) – Executive Director John Garner today announced that charges are being brought against a former Western Maryland Scenic Railroad employee who allegedly used his position to steal numerous historic artifacts and railroad equipment parts belonging to the Scenic Railroad and then sold them for scrap at local salvage yards.

“These irreplaceable artifacts are property that was entrusted to our care for preservation and for the education and enjoyment of the public,” said Executive Director Garner. “Employees with access to the Western Maryland Scenic’s collection of railroad equipment and parts are trusted guardians who must not abuse their positions for personal gain. We are working with local and state law enforcement officials in Maryland and West Virginia and will vigorously prosecute any allegation that an individual has stolen or misappropriated WMSR’s property as their own.”

Some of the items include rare light fixtures and brass hardware from Western Maryland Office Car 204, bronze bearings and wear plates from Chesapeake and Ohio Steam Locomotive 1309, currently undergoing restoration, and numerous miscellaneous locomotive and passenger car parts.
“This individual had access to a wide array of WMSR’s collection of parts and artifacts,” said Executive Director Garner. Western Maryland Scenic Railroad has cooperated fully in the investigation and the employer relationship WMSR had with this individual has ended.

Executive Director Garner thanked Allegany County Sherriff Craig Robertson for his department’s alertness and fast action, and thanked the West Virginia State Police for their assistance with the case in West Virginia.

“Any theft of artifacts or equipment parts from the WMSR is an unconscionable act,” said Garner. “A salvage yard notified the Allegany County Sherriff’s Office of suspicious salvage activity in early February and the Sherriff’s Office contacted WMSR on Tuesday, February 6. WMSR subsequently conducted an initial inventory of artifacts and equipment to determine what, if anything may have been missing. We are now assembling respected experts in artifact preservation and security to examine current security and storage procedures and make recommendations to strengthen them. The Board of Directors and I will review their report and carry out their recommendations.”

The charges in the case are merely accusations and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty. Detailed information on the charges can be obtained from Allegany County Sheriff’s Office and the West Virginia State Police. WMSR is working with experts in rail preservation and restoration to determine the full costs associated with the loss.

The Allegany County Maryland State’s Attorney is prosecuting the Maryland case. The investigation is ongoing and criminal charges are expected to be filed in West Virginia in the coming days.

Despite the setbacks from a funding shortfall and the alleged theft of parts, the restoration of former Chesapeake and Ohio steam locomotive #1309 is proceeding as funding becomes available. The initial letter writing campaign soliciting donations for the project has to date yielded over $30,000 in contributions with more fundraising efforts underway, including a winter photo freight event planned for February 24, 2018 that will include a night photo session. All funds raised will directly benefit the restoration of 1309. For more information or to purchase tickets, please visit WMSR’s website at http://www.wmsr.com.

“While we had suspended full time work on 1309 over the winter pending additional funding, the generosity of supporters has made it possible to fund a major item on the project’s work list,” said Executive Director Garner. “We are happy to report that all of the driving wheels are currently in Chattanooga, Tennessee, with work scheduled to begin shortly. The work will include machining and quartering crank pins and machining the journal bearing surfaces on the axles which were pitted from years of exposure to the elements.” The work will be performed under the direction of Diversified Rail Services utilizing specialized steam locomotive wheel machines located at Tennessee Valley Railroad Museum’s Soule Shop.

“We are committed to returning 1309 to steam as soon as is financially possible,” said Garner. “We have wasted no time in putting the dollars raised so far to work as quickly as possible. The preservation and local communities’ continued support is vital to the locomotive’s completion.”

The Western Maryland Scenic Railroad Development Corporation is a quasi-public entity chartered by the State of Maryland and Allegany County to preserve the region’s railroad heritage and offer classic railroad experiences along the former Western Maryland Railway mainline corridor between Cumberland and Frostburg, Maryland. It has been operating mainline steam and diesel excursions since 1991.

Contact the railroad at trainmaster@wmsr.com for additional information or visit the Railroad’s website at http://www.wmsr.com.

Media Contacts:

Name: John Garner
Email Address: sco@wmsr.com

Name: Tyler Clayton
Email Address: internetcoordinator@wmsr.com


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 Post subject: Re: The strange saga of C&O 1309 restoration just got strang
PostPosted: Tue Feb 13, 2018 7:55 pm 

Joined: Thu Sep 22, 2011 4:29 pm
Posts: 1326
Location: Youngstown, OH
Scrap thefts are some of the worst for those of us in this business have to deal with, because a lot of that metal that we have around aren't things that can easily be replaced. Usually the thief does not have much in the way of assets that can be surrendered for restitution and it is difficult to get a conviction if there is not hard evidence linking the thief to the stolen items. I have been the victim of a few scrap metal thefts over the years so I know what anguish this can put people through.

I do wonder how does an employee manage to make off with that much stuff. I don't suppose that John Garner is in the shop every day, so who is the ultimate authority in the shop? Who is the current CMO?

A friend owns a machine shop and after theft of a spool of 4/0 cable he installed several video cameras. They have already paid for themselves, both in preventing and prosecuting theft and also from the entertainment value of watching employees doing stupid stuff.

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J&L Narrow Gauge Railroad
"The shortest and narrowest Railroad in Ohio"


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 Post subject: Re: The strange saga of C&O 1309 restoration just got strang
PostPosted: Tue Feb 13, 2018 9:54 pm 

Joined: Sat Aug 25, 2007 12:45 am
Posts: 563
Finderskeepers wrote:
Part of the information for this announcement was taken from the Allegany County (MD) Sheriff’s office Facebook page.
I'm not seeing anything about the WMSR on either the Allegany County (MD) Sheriff or Sheriff Craig A. Robertson Facebook pages.

The only source about the alleged theft(s) appears to be John Garner's press release:
Quote:
OFFICE OF THE EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, CUMBERLAND, MD. (February 13, 2018) – Executive Director John Garner today announced that charges are being brought against
This is something I can't remember having seen before: a private citizen puts out a news release in which he announces specific actions law enforcement agencies will be taking before those actions occur.


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 Post subject: Re: The strange saga of C&O 1309 restoration just got strang
PostPosted: Tue Feb 13, 2018 11:07 pm 

Joined: Wed Oct 22, 2008 8:18 pm
Posts: 2226
All I can say is the restoration has to grind on, not even this should not hold them back. But it makes it tougher. This is why we need transparency from everybody and recognize the value of the work going into it. When it goes into some secrecy, it becomes suspect.


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 Post subject: Re: The strange saga of C&O 1309 restoration just got strang
PostPosted: Wed Feb 14, 2018 12:37 am 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 1:51 pm
Posts: 8859
Location: Somewhere north of Prescott, AZ on the Santa Fe "Peavine"
There were screen grabs and snapshots posted earlier today on FB allegedly of "mug shots" or the like and supposedly naming the perpetrator arrested or sought.

Thanks to the dubious nature of a couple cranks alleging ties or denigrating the 1309 project, I'm not trusting anything enough to repost here.


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 Post subject: Re: The strange saga of C&O 1309 restoration just got strang
PostPosted: Wed Feb 14, 2018 8:49 am 

Joined: Thu Oct 21, 2004 7:24 am
Posts: 504
Location: Canada
What i found interesting was that when I googled "Western Maryland Scenic railroad theft" it took me to an article from 2008. At that time the board of directors authorized $80,000 to be spent on security equipment and cameras. Were they never installed, or did nobody think to look at them?


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 Post subject: Re: The strange saga of C&O 1309 restoration just got strang
PostPosted: Wed Feb 14, 2018 2:21 pm 

Joined: Thu Feb 01, 2018 11:09 am
Posts: 79
Most intriguing. One Question: Who in their right mind would steal parts from a Steam Locomotive?! It’s Just...
“Disgraceful!” Said Gordon.
“Disgusting!” Added James.
“Despicable!” Finished Henry.

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 Post subject: Re: The strange saga of C&O 1309 restoration just got strang
PostPosted: Wed Feb 14, 2018 4:03 pm 

Joined: Thu May 24, 2012 1:37 pm
Posts: 1055
Quote:
"Were they never installed, or did nobody think to look at them?"


I'm expecting that since this was something of an 'inside job', the person responsible (I won't 'out' their name) would know how to avoid the fields of view, wipe the tapes showing evidence, turn the cameras off when actually removing the contraband, etc. Cameras are not a magic cure-all until rigorously and systematically used -- which tends to make most employees a bit nervous, especially if results from the cameras are used to fish for violations or discipline opportunities. (I tend to like the idea of deer-cams, though; you find the funniest expressions on people's faces when they engage in secret larceny...)

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 Post subject: Re: The strange saga of C&O 1309 restoration just got strang
PostPosted: Wed Feb 14, 2018 4:13 pm 
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Joined: Fri Oct 24, 2008 9:05 pm
Posts: 735
Location: MA
Unfortunately many organizations that are victims of scrap like to spend your time complaining instead of taking action. One large operation in New England was facing frequent scrap theft. I made maney suggestions such as chain link fence inserts, spray painting track parts and informing local scrap dealers that part was that color paint if they should appear or stolen from your museum. lights, cameras, electric fences all of which don't cost very much. Too bad a shotgun full of rock salt is no longer legal :(


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 Post subject: Re: The strange saga of C&O 1309 restoration just got strang
PostPosted: Wed Feb 14, 2018 7:36 pm 

Joined: Sat Aug 25, 2007 12:45 am
Posts: 563
Alexander D. Mitchell IV wrote:
There were screen grabs and snapshots posted earlier today on FB allegedly of "mug shots" or the like and supposedly naming the perpetrator arrested or sought.

About a half-hour ago, Sheriff Craig A. Robertson posted the press release on his face book page: Craig A Robertson - "Western Maryland Scenic Railroad Executive Director John Garner today announced..."


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 Post subject: Re: The strange saga of C&O 1309 restoration just got strang
PostPosted: Wed Feb 14, 2018 9:01 pm 

Joined: Thu Sep 22, 2011 4:29 pm
Posts: 1326
Location: Youngstown, OH
If those cameras were installed in 2008 they would be about a decade old now. Probably low resolution black and white. The recording system may also have crapped out by now. It is true that the longer someone gets from being stung by theft the more complacent they get and the less precautions are taken.

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J&L Narrow Gauge Railroad
"The shortest and narrowest Railroad in Ohio"


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 Post subject: Re: The strange saga of C&O 1309 restoration just got strang
PostPosted: Thu Feb 15, 2018 1:56 pm 

Joined: Sat Sep 04, 2004 10:54 am
Posts: 780
Location: Tucson, Arizona
Camera and recording systems must periodically be maintained and upgraded. Same goes for criminal records checks. If your organization performs pre-employment criminal records checks, you should periodically perform records checks on current employees. People change and old information is just that-old information.

My day job is a process server program administrator for my county. Here, our state law requires that persons wishing to apply to be a private process server must pass a written examination and state and federal criminal records check. Certification is valid for three years and as a requirement for renewal of certification, our office is required by law to perform a criminal records check at that time as well. That way, we always know what the current status of the server is. Process servers are also required by law to inform our office if they are arrested or criminally charged for any reason. They generally do so because they know that we will eventually find out and that they can lose their license if my investigation returns information that they did not report. The reports that I receive are the rap sheets from DPS and the FBI and show both arrests and convictions.

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