While on patrol, a Houlton Police Officer happened upon a suspicious truck hauling a large amount of railroad iron.

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According to the Houlton Police Department, 23-year-old Clayton Willigar and 20-year-old Jessie Willigar of Littleton and a 17-year-old juvenile male of Houlton were arrested after officers discovered railroad tie plates, spikes, anchors, pieces of rail and a cutting torch in the bed of their truck.

Police say the suspects used a cutting torch to cut the metal. Two pry bars, a wrench and a hammer were located in the bed of the truck along with the metal. The suspects initially admitted to pulling approximately 15 railroad spikes and anchor plates from the track.

The inventory revealed the truck was carrying 3 braces, 3 sections of rail 5-6 feet long, 60 plates, 115 anchors and 165 spikes. The weight of the materials was 1,760 pounds.

According to a press release from Houlton Police Chief Butch Asselin, the Willigars said they were being paid $160 for each ton of railroad iron they collected.

Further investigation led Houlton Police to a scrap metal business in Monticello owned by Eric Dalton. More railroad iron was found at the business -- allegedly delivered by Clayton Willigar on a previous date. The metal consisted of 1 brake pad, 1 five foot section of rail, 15 plates, 34 spikes and 164 rail anchors. Clayton and Jessie Willigar are employees of the scrap metal business.

The railroad was temporarily closed, but after an inspection the track was cleared for use. Damage to the railroad has been estimated around $3,598.00.

Asselin said Clayton Willigar was involved with a previous theft of railroad iron near the end of August.

Clayton and Jessie Willagar were charged with theft by unauthorized taking or transfer(felony Class C), aggravated criminal mischief (felony Class C), and criminal trespass (misdemeanor Class D). The juvenile also faces charges of aggravated criminal mischief and theft by unauthorized taking or transfer.