TILDEN TOWNSHIP, Pa. — Two employees of a fast-food restaurant are facing charges after investigators said they tried to make railroad equipment malfunction so that they could have a slow shift at work.
Police said in a news release that on Aug. 26 a man was seen on the railroad tracks in Tilden Township. Accompanying the release were surveillance photos that showed a man in a white hat near the tracks.
Investigators identified the man in the surveillance photos as Ryan Boria, and said that he installed a shunt designed to short-circuit the crossing gate signal, the Reading Eagle reported.
Boria allegedly committed the crime with a coworker, identified by the Tilden Township Police Department as Amy Schaner, WFMZ reported.
“While they were driving through here, she dropped him off,” Tilden Township police officer Frank Cataldi told WFMZ. “He exited the vehicle. He placed a shut on the track. He got back in the car with her and they proceeded to Wendy’s.”
Both Boria and Schaner work at Wendy’s, and investigators told the Reading Eagle that the pair’s coworkers contacted police to identify him after recognizing him in the surveillance images shared by police on Facebook.
The pair allegedly confessed to police, saying they wanted to cause the gates to malfunction.
“During the interview, they told us that their intentions were that if the gates could malfunction and they could somehow block traffic, then that would prevent people from getting to Wendy’s, and they could have a slow night at work,” Cataldi told WFMZ.
The shunt that was placed on the tracks was discovered when a dispatcher noticed an unexpected occupancy light on, the Reading Eagle reported. When the signal maintainer arrived, he found a wire taped from rail to rail and threaded through a cotter pin, which he recognized as a shunt. The result was that the gate was short-circuited and would not have been activated until the train went over the wire. In this case, a train at normal speed would have already been at the gate before the light and arms were activated, the Reading Eagle reported.
Cataldi told the Reading Eagle that the signal malfunction could have caused a collision, potentially involving a freight train, that could have had tragic consequences.
Boria was charged with multiple crimes, including risking a catastrophe and criminal mischief.
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