Authorities: Railroad Gang Stole Millions
JERSEY CITY, N.J. (AP) - A gang that used night-vision binoculars and other modern technology to steal railroad cargo has been broken up after a decade of exploits that far surpassed the James Gang and other fabled outlaws, authorities said Thursday.
The ``Conrail Boyz'' stole millions of dollars of cargo, mostly consumer goods such as designer clothes. One 2001 robbery netted more than 17,000 Sony PlayStation units worth $5 million.
In most of the robberies, ``train jumpers'' would board a slow-moving train to search for valuable cargo, said Steven Hanes, director of Norfolk Southern's police force. Other gang members would pose as rail workers to find out where the train was stopping.
The goods would be unloaded, then peddled on the street or in shops.
Some gang members were arrested repeatedly over the years, but they avoided long jail terms because they did not carry weapons.
The Conrail Boyz were the ``largest single gang ever to attack North American railroads,'' Hanes said, citing the size of their membership, their longevity and the value of the stolen merchandise.
Authorities had arrested 13 people as of Thursday and were searching for 11 others described as gang members. They said they are still pursuing leads to determine if an insider tipped the gang to lucrative loads.
The indictments issued Tuesday say the gang was led by Edward Mongon, 28, of Union City, who used relatives to launder the proceeds. He was charged with 17 counts, including racketeering and money laundering, which carry up to 20 years in prison each. He remained at large Thursday afternoon.
His parents, Martin and Ersilia Mongon of Hoboken, were arrested in Pennsylvania. They face a money laundering charge. Prosecutors said they did not yet know whether the Mongons had attorneys.