8News Investigates: Free Ride To Crime - ABC 8NEWS - WRIC | Richmond, Virginia News & Weather

8News Investigates: Free Ride To Crime

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Bumpass, VA-- When train signals in Louisa started failing, detectives began an investigation. Someone was stealing rail line signal wire--the same wire that controls the signal arms and lights at railroad crossings.

"He was using government subsidy to commit his crime," says Louisa County Commonwealth Attorney Rusty McGuire in reference to the bizarre and dangerous crime.

Louisa resident Donald Cosby pleaded guilty to felony grand larceny, malicious destruction of a railroad signal and misdemeanor trespassing. An investigation by the Louisa County Sheriff's Office revealed that he stole approximately 2,000 feet of railroad signal wire, and sold the copper inside to a scrap yard.

Not only was Cosby using a bus literally running on taxpayer dollars to get back and forth to the railroads in rural Louisa, he was putting countless lives in danger.

"Every time he would come out here and cut the wire and take it with him the signals went down and people's lives could've been in jeopardy," says Detective Mark Stanton of the Louisa County Sheriff's Office.

The first report of wire missing from the railroad was recorded in August 2012. Detective Stanton began investigating the mysterious situation.

Over the course of several months, Cosby returned again and again, cutting signal wire and lugging buckets of it onto a Jaunt bus. These buses use taxpayer funding to supplement their fares.

Unbeknownst to Cosby, the bus was equipped with a high-tech art video and audio system.

Louisa Commonwealth Attorney Rusty McGuire says, "Each bus has its own hard drive that records the data." Cosby was caught on tape on every occasion.

Cosby remains in jail without bond; he is set to be sentenced on June 17.

Stay with 8News for updates.

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