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Train-robbing 'boyz' could be heading for New Jersey clink


On July 10, New Jersey's Division of Criminal Justice, Organized Crime & Racketeering Bureau indicted 24 members of the "Conrail Boyz," a gang charged with stealing millions of dollars worth of merchandise from freight trains and then selling the items through a black market.

For two years, the bureau, Norfolk Southern Railway police, Union County prosecutor's office and several companies jointly investigated the gang, which targeted goods moving through Hudson, Union, Bergen and Essex counties.

"The investigation uncovered and identified a sophisticated, organized criminal cartel, whose sole business was stealing merchandise from freight trains and shipping centers transporting consumer goods from the Bayonne, Elizabeth and Newark ports through the new Jersey region," said New Jersey Attorney General Peter Haverty in a prepared statement.

A state grand jury indicted gang members on such charges as first-degree racketeering, conspiracy, money laundering, receiving stolen property, unlawful possession of illegal weapons and tax-law violations.

"Shippers and railroads throughout northern New Jersey can operate in a much safer and more secure environment now that this crime cell has been eliminated," said NS Police Director Steve Hanes.

Investigators determined that gang members would leap onto slow-moving trains and break into truck trailers or containers. Merchandise would be thrown along tracks, picked up by accomplices, staged at a secret collection point and sold.

The gang is accused of stealing 17,496 electronic game systems valued at more than $5 million, clothing valued at more than $190,000, as well as other items and about $7,000 in cash between 1992 and March 2003.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 7/11/2003