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How warheads get stolen in Romania: train machinist allegedly smuggles diesel, gendarmes reportedly watch TV while on duty

de V.O.
Luni, 18 iulie 2011, 15:25 English | Top News

A train machinist reportedly stopping the train to smuggle diesel and gendarmes allegedly watching TV while on duty allowed dozens of warheads to be stolen from a train in Romania this weekend, according to media reports on Monday. News emerged on Sunday that four boxes carrying 16 warheads each were stolen from a train carrying military equipment from Romania to Bulgaria the day before, an incident currently investigated by military prosecutors.

The four boxes were found missing from a train while it halted at a station in Giurgiu county close to a border point between Romania and Bulgaria.

Railway personnel found that the seal on one of the train carriages had been broken, as news agency Mediafax reported. Officials later announced that  the military transport did not involve state contracts but the equipment produced in Zarnesti was subject to a private contract with a Bulgarian company.

Officials also said that the warheads were not dangerous unless placed in missiles and that most probably they were stolen by scrap metal traffickers.

On Monday, TV news stations and other media reported, quoting various sources involved in the investigation, that the machinist of the train from which the 64 warheads were stolen had stopped in the town of Stanesti, Giurgiu county in order to smuggle some 70 liters of diesel oil. Reports also said that the machinist and his assistant were subject to prosecutors' inquiries during the night.

Military officials on Sunday only said that gendarmes accompanying the train were not doing their job properly. Reports emerged on Monday that the 10 gendarmes guarding the train and who were supposed to stay on duty for the time the train halted had allegedly all gathered in the first carriage and were watching television when the warheads were stolen.

Sources quoted by various media said that the train had stopped three times between Brasov, Central Romania and the southern border crossing with Bulgaria.

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