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Missing railroad ties in Fergus Falls believed to be stolen

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Authorities in Fergus Falls, Minn., are investigating the apparent theft of railroad ties discovered missing last week. WDAY-TV2 / 2

FERGUS FALLS, Minn. — Authorities here are investigating the apparent theft of railroad ties discovered missing last week.

Fergus Falls Police Sgt. Kevin Sonstebo said a foreman at the Otter Tail Valley Railroad reported last week that ties were seemingly disappearing.

"They noticed that the pile was slowly dwindling over the past couple months, but they believed they were using the ties for railroad work and after investigation by their own department they found that those ties are actually missing so it's an assumed theft at this point," Sonstebo said.

Police have been working since to find the train-track thief, but have no suspects yet. The ties were stolen from a pile outside the Otter Tail Valley Railroad Co. The pile has since been moved.

Sonstebo said almost 100 are believed to have been stolen, adding up to a combined cost of more than $24,000.

"Each one of those railroad ties, because of their special construction, is valued at $244," he said.

The value makes this theft a felony-level crime — and an unusual one, according to Sonstebo, who said he's not aware of a similar theft like this in the past.

Authorities are asking the public to be on the lookout for anyone that might be doing landscaping using the stolen railroad ties. Anyone with information is asked to call the Fergus Falls Police Department at 218-332-5555 or the Otter Tail County Sheriff's Office at 218-998-8555.

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