A 48-year-old Amtrak worker has been arrested for allegedly stealing chainsaws and chainsaw parts valued at more than $50,000 from his employer and reselling them, mainly via an online auction service, federal prosecutors in New Jersey say.
Jose Rodriguez, of Brick, faces one count of theft from an agency receiving federal funds and one count of theft of government property for the alleged years-long scheme, Acting U.S. Attorney for New Jersey Rachel Honig said Tuesday.
According to court papers, Rodriguez has been an Amtrak employee since October 2007, most recently as a senior engineer and repairman based out of a facility in North Brunswick. Between August 2016 and July 2020, he allegedly stole 77 chainsaws, 103 bars and 163 chains from Amtrak and used an online auction service to sell most of the goods to buyers in more than a half-dozen U.S. states. The total estimated value of the items was $53,535, the complaint says.
Rodriguez also allegedly sold Amtrak chainsaws and chainsaw parts directly, without using the online auction service. He allegedly accepted payment using an online payment account registered in his name. Prosecutors allege he directly contacted one purchaser on multiple occasions offering to sell chainsaws and parts the day before or the same day he picked up the items from Amtrak.
Agents recovered several chainsaws that Rodriguez sold, which had serial numbers matching Amtrak’s chainsaws. One of those chainsaws had previously been reported stolen by Amtrak, according to court documents.
Amtrak referred questions on the arrest to prosecutors. Rodriguez faces up to 10 years in prison on each count if convicted, along with a maximum fine of $250,000. Attorney information for him wasn't immediately clear. He is expected to appear in Newark federal court via video conference later Tuesday.