On Friday, it was announced that two Missouri residents had been arrested on an indictment charging them with removing aluminum braces from railroad cars. 29-year-old Jacob Brewer and 27-year-old Michelle Phipps are accused of taking aluminum braces from railroad cars owned by Ameren UE.
The indictment explains that between February 1 and February 22, 2017, the defendants disabled railroad on-track equipment by removing stabilizing braces from freight cars. The braces are responsible for keeping the cars from derailing when loaded down and moving.
The cars, which were owned by Ameren UE, were utilized to transport coal from Wyoming to Missouri. A federal grand jury indicted the couple on July 19. Both face a single felony count of violence against railroad carriers. The couple appeared in a federal court on Friday morning.
If the defendants are convicted, they will face a maximum of 20 years in prison along with a $250,000 fine. At this point in time, Jacob Brewer and Michelle Phipps are innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.