Locomotive EMD GP 18

Vandals broke into a train engine in Newberry and took it for a joy ride that resulted in $60,000 in damage.

According to Alachua County Sheriff's Office (ASO) spokesperson Art Forgey, the Florida Central Railroad reported a break-in of locomotive EMD GP 18. The bright red train was built in 1959 and is one of three locomotives currently parked in Newberry.

The break-in was discovered on Monday, but investigators suspect it happened sometime between March 24 and 28, Forgey said.

The railroad official who reported the break-in said that the locomotive was locked and that the suspect(s) potentially gained entry through a window.

Forgey reported that once inside the locomotive, "It was driven on the tracks in the area."

And during the joy ride, Forgey reported, the vandals damaged two switches valued at $30,000 each.

"Numerous charges could apply, including trespassing, criminal mischief, burglary of a conveyance, vehicle theft, and there are also some federal crimes," Forgey said. 

At this time no suspect information is available. Authorities are asking anyone with information to call 352-955-1818. Callers can also remain anonymous by calling (352) 372-STOP (7867) or visiting www.stopcrime.tv, and be eligible for a reward provided by CrimeStoppers.

Mainstreet Daily News Reporter

Suzette Cook is a Mainstreet Daily News reporter who has been a community journalist for more than 30 years.

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