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Three accused of stealing copper from trains in Pine Bluff

By David Harten

This article was published March 4, 2013 at 4:53 p.m.

Three men stand accused of stealing large amounts of copper wiring from a railroad yard near Pine Bluff last month, causing more than $5.5 million in damages, according to a probable-cause affidavit.

The Jefferson County sheriff's office on Monday released the affidavit naming 45-year-old John Lynn Carrington, 40-year-old Billy J. Elliot and 29-year-old Wesley William Clary as suspects in the theft, with charges stemming from multiple cases at the Union Pacific Railroad.

The affidavit states that a Union Pacific agent caught Elliot stripping copper wire from a train in the early morning hours of Feb. 26, a day after Union Pacific officials had filed reports of significant damage to several of its trains.

Authorities later located Clary hiding in another train, and both he and Elliot were taken into custody for questioning. Both men gave voluntary statements, and Elliot noted that Carrington "would later return [to the railroad yard] and pick them up as they had done several times in the past," the affidavit states.

Clary told authorities he agreed several days earlier to work with Elliot and Carrington and claimed he did not know until the night of his arrest that they did not have permission to scrap the trains.

When Carrington later arrived at the railroad yard, Union Pacific agents said they attempted to stop him, but he turned around and left the property. Upon his arrest, the affidavit states Carrington denied involvement in the theft and told officers he was "just driving around" when he drove onto the Union Pacific property.

Investigators say all three men had sold copper wire taken from the railroad yard in the past three weeks.

Read more in Tuesday's Arkansas Democrat-Gazette.

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