Thief stole tools from BNSF, then got truck stuck on tracks

The driver fled, leaving the keys — and blocking the railway for more than two hours.

MONROE — Railroad tracks apparently foiled someone’s plan to make off with stolen property.

A Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway Company employee woke up at a hotel in Monroe on Dec. 12 to find out his work vehicle was broken into. He told police that someone had shattered the passenger-side window and pried open a toolbox inside. More than $5,000 worth of tools were taken.

At 11:30 p.m., BNSF police received a call saying that someone drove a truck a half-mile down a rail yard in Everett and got stuck. The trapped vehicle put a halt to train traffic for more than 2½ hours, according to a search warrant filed in Snohomish County courts.

The keys were still in the ignition, according to records, but the thief was long gone.

Railroad investigators obtained a judge’s permission to look through the impounded truck. It appeared that most of the stolen items were still inside: pliers, wrenches, drills, a Sawzall, a computer and a smartphone, as well as several keys.

Theoretically, someone could have done serious damage with those keys. Some of them are used to switch which way trains go at junctions — heading down the tracks the wrong way could cause a derailment.

Based on the evidence, police allege the person committed second-degree theft, documents show.

The truck is registered to an address in Everett. The available records don’t identify a suspect.

BNSF did not respond to inquiries for this story.

Zachariah Bryan: 425-339-3431; Twitter: @zachariahtb.

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