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Posted June 6, 2012 | comments 1 Comment

Front Royal man charged with 13 counts in railroad burglary

By Joe Beck -- jbeck@nvdaily.com

A Front Royal man was indicted Monday in Warren County Circuit Court on 13 counts linking him to the April 5 theft of cargo from a Norfolk Southern Corp. freight train.

The criminal complaint accuses Michael Creed Smith, 20, of 824 W. 14th St., of breaking into seven sealed containers on the train and taking more than $1,600 in cargo.

The complaint, signed by Matthew P. Caplan, a special agent with the Norfolk Southern Railway Police in Manassas, lists the stolen cargo as a love seat valued at about $400, a water softener worth $400, three bottles of cooking oil valued at $48, two bar stools valued at $270, three bags of rice worth $57 and four gas edgers valued at $596.

Police said earlier that some of the stolen items were found near railroad tracks by the former 15th Street middle school.

The indictment against Smith includes: Seven counts of burglary to a railroad car; three counts of grand larceny; one count of conspiracy to commit larceny and one count of larceny with intent to sell. The conspiracy charge accuses Smith and a juvenile identified only as P.J. of plotting to steal the cargo.

Circuit Judge Dennis L. Hupp set bail at $7,500 secured bond.

A press release issued by Front Royal police after Smith's arrest said the juvenile is 15 years old.

The press release said the investigation into the burglary began when a man discovered the stolen goods -- lawn and garden equipment -- along the Norfolk Southern railroad tracks while walking his dog April 6.

Police said they found similar items being sold online the next day. They contacted the seller and scheduled a meeting to examine the property, according to police.

Upon seeing the goods, police concluded it was the same property missing from some empty boxes found at the crime scene.

The railroad's police department and Front Royal police found other stolen property after Smith's arrest, Front Royal police said.

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