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Man arrested for allegedly stealing cables near Union Pacific rail

A 45-year-old Rainier man was arrested Tuesday for allegedly cutting and stealing a number of cables between the Wyeth weigh station and the Union Pacific rail line located approximately 10 miles west of Hood River off Interstate 84.

Barry Gene Eslick was booked at the Northern Oregon Regional Correctional Facility on three felony counts of first-degree criminal mischief, one count of first-degree criminal trespass, and charges of possession of burglary tools and resisting arrest. He is currently being held on $5,000 bail.

According to a probable cause statement read by Deputy District Attorney Carrie Rasmussen during Eslick’s arraignment in Hood River County Circuit Court, Oregon State Police received a call on Monday “about utility cables that were from Union Pacific Railroad being stolen — cut and stolen” near the Wyeth weigh station.

The next day, OSP examined an SUV that was blocking access to the weigh station and noticed coils of cable that were consistent with the description of the missing cables, according to Rasmussen, as well as a pair of red-handled cable cutters.

OSP began to search the area for a suspect and brought in other law enforcement agencies to help, including the K9 unit of the Skamania County Sheriff’s Office, which Rasmussen said “quickly found the defendant hiding” and dressed in camouflage.

Police had trouble taking in Eslick, according to Rasmussen.

“At one point, the defendant tried to hit the dog, then the dog bit him, and the defendant had to be threatened with a Taser,” she explained.

Rasmussen said police ultimately were able to bring in the defendant and conduct a search of his person, which yielded a screwdriver, wrench, vice grips, and wire cutters. When asked by law enforcement what he was doing in the area, Rasmussen said the defendant “basically admitted what he had done and said, ‘Because I heard there was good money in cable.’”

This is far from the first time Eslick has run into trouble with the law, according to Rasmussen, who was asked by Judge John Olson to “summarize the high points” of Eslick’s criminal history.

She reported Eslick has “several felony convictions for residential burglary, defrauding public utilities” in the state of Washington as well as “many” arrests in Nevada, including a 2010 charge of grand larceny, unlawful possession of burglary tools, and malicious destruction of public property.

Rasmussen said her office is still in the process of sorting out what cables belong to what agency, noting that some may belong to the Oregon Department of Transportation as well as Union Pacific. She said she is also researching the total monetary value of the cables and may be filing additional charges once the value is determined.

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