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Man pleads guilty to stealing Md. railroad tracks worth $222,000

ELLICOTT CITY — An Upper Marlboro man has pleaded guilty in an elaborate scheme to steal $222,000 worth of railroad track.

The Howard County State’s Attorney’s Office said in a news release that 50-year-old Randy Penkert pleaded guilty on Tuesday to theft over $100,000 in Howard County Circuit Court.

Prosecutors say in October 2015, CSX railroad police were investigating an industrial park in Columbia. Authorities say several hundred feet of rail, tie plates, bolts and spikes were missing. Prosecutors say Penkert was one of the workers at the scene.

Officials say Penkert claimed to own a recycling company that was contracted to remove and scrap track. Prosecutors say Penkert produced an alleged contract, which investigators determined to be fake.

Penkert faces a maximum of 15 years in prison at sentencing Aug. 25.