Redding transient who created traffic nightmare by cutting “dozens” of electrical rail lines arrested

REDDING –A Redding area transient was arrested last week after she was caught “tampering with and cutting lines on the railroad tracks,” according to Redding PD officials. The alleged suspect has been arrested several times for damaging and vandalizing rail line property and area businesses according to sources familiar with the woman and her prior criminal history.

The woman allegedly cut “dozens” of electrical wires that control traffic arms that stop traffic for passing trains. The Thursday, Aug. 9, incident created a traffic nightmare for morning commuters who found themselves stuck behind the traffic control arms.

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The investigation began at about 7:15 a.m., when Redding PD and Union Pacific Railroad began receiving numerous reports of multiple crossing arms down at the railroad tracks in Downtown Redding. 911 callers reported being stranded behind the crossing arms for as long as 30 minutes, despite no trains seen passing through the area.

50-year-old, Redding area transient, Forcep Birkle was arrested last week after officials caught her tampering with dozens of railroad electrical wires. Redding PD photo

At about 7:30 a.m., a Union Pacific worker reported spotting a woman tampering with and cutting lines on the railroad tracks between Riverside Dr. and Eureka Way.

The railroad employee provided a description of the alleged suspect and officers quickly located and detained 50-year-old, Forcep Sepi Birkle. Birkle is a known Redding transient, according to police officials.

During questioning Birkle, who is “well known to officers” admitted to cutting several lines on the railroad tracks, Redding Police Corporal W. Williams explained after the woman’s arrest.

During their subsequent investigation, officers and railroad officials discovered dozens of track wires had been cut or damaged along the tracks, disrupting train service and creating a “significant hazard to the general public,” according to Williams.

“Union Pacific track repair workers responded quickly to the problem and diligently worked on repairs,” Williams explained. “Trains crossing Redding were halted while repairs took place and the crossing arms were lifted.”

Birkle was eventually arrested and booked into Shasta County Jail on suspicion of vandalism causing more than $10,000 in damage and trespassing on railroad property. She remains in custody, held on $25,0000 bail.

Anyone with information about this incident or Birkle’s criminal activities is encouraged to contact Redding PD at (530) 225-4200. Callers can refer to incident file number 18-57061 and can remain anonymous.

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Contact the writer: trevor.rcns@gmail.com

Trevor Montgomery, 47, recently moved to the Intermountain area of Shasta County from Riverside County and runs Riverside County News Source and Shasta County News Source. Additionally, he writes for several other news organizations, including Riverside County based newspapers, Valley News, The Valley Chronicle and Anza Valley Outlook, as well as Bonsall/Fallbrook Village News in San Diego County and The Mountain Echo in Shasta County.

Trevor spent 10 years in the U.S. Army as an Orthopedic Specialist before joining the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department in 1998. He was medically retired after losing his leg, breaking his back and suffering both spinal cord and brain injuries in an off-duty accident. (Click here to see segment of Discovery Channel documentary of Trevor’s accident.)

During his time with the sheriff’s department, Trevor worked at several different stations, including Robert Presley Detention Center, Southwest Station in Temecula, Hemet/Valle Vista Station, Ben Clark Public Safety Training Center and Lake Elsinore Station, along with other locations.

Trevor’s assignments included Corrections, Patrol, DUI Enforcement, Boat and Personal Water-Craft based Lake Patrol, Off-Road Vehicle Enforcement, Problem Oriented Policing Team and Personnel/Background Investigations. He finished his career while working as a Sex Crimes and Child Abuse Investigator and was a court-designated expert in child abuse and child sex-related crimes.

Trevor has been married for more than 27 years and was a foster parent to more than 60 children over 13 years. He is now an adoptive parent and his “fluid family” boasts 13 children and 14 – soon to be 16 – grandchildren.

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