Amtrak worker accused of stealing 77 chain saws

A longtime Amtrak employee in New Jersey stole several dozen chain saws and hundreds of parts from the railroad and sold them online, according to a federal criminal complaint released Tuesday.

Jose Rodriguez sold the items for more than $50,000 between 2016 and July 2020, according to the complaint. The 48-year-old Brick resident has worked at Amtrak's North Brunswick facility since 2007 in positions including senior engineer and repairman.

Rodriguez was scheduled to appear in court Tuesday afternoon. A message was left with Amtrak and with an attorney for Rodriguez seeking comment.

The sales were primarily made through an online auction site, though some of the saws were sold directly to people, the complaint alleged. A buyer in Pennsylvania provided law enforcement agents with 11 boxes with Rodriguez's return address that had been used to ship chain saws in exchange for more than $7,000.

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In all, Rodriguez sold 77 chain saws, 103 chain saw replacement bars and 163 replacement chains to buyers in Pennsylvania, Michigan, West Virginia, Ohio, Illinois, California and South Carolina, according to the complaint.

He faces one count of stealing government property and one count of stealing from an agency receiving federal funds. Both counts carry maximum prison sentences of 10 years.