CLEVELAND (WJW) — A Cleveland man is facing federal terrorism related charges, for allegedly trying to cause trains in the city to derail by sabotaging the tracks.
According to a complaint filed in federal court, FBI agents contend that 43-year-old Joseph Findley attempted to cause derailments by freight and Amtrak passenger trains, by jamming various metal objects into the tracks and rail switches, which allow trains to move from one track to another.
Findley lives with his parents near the CSX tracks in Cleveland’s St. Clair-Superior neighborhood.
His mother, Mary Findley, told Nexstar’s WJW Monday, “he’s never been a bad kid, never, he was always good. He’s no terrorist, somebody’s making that up.”
The federal investigation began in August, when CSX employees reported that their train struck objects that had been wedged into a switch on the tracks near East 55th Street and Dominion Energy. The obstruction caused some of the wheels on the train to derail, but eventually they fell back into place on the tracks.
When FBI agents began their investigation, surveillance cameras at Dominion Energy were not positioned to show the nearby railroad tracks. However, the company agreed to change the angle of the cameras, and that’s when they captured images of a bald man in shorts and a black shirt placing items on the tracks a total of five times between August and Oct. 1.
When shown photos of the suspect, an employee at a nearby business identified him as Joseph Findley. When federal authorities executed a search warrant at Findley’s home on Friday and placed him under arrest, they say he admitted that he had placed rail spikes on the tracks, but denied he intended to cause trains to derail.
We asked Findley’s mother what would explain her son’s behavior on the tracks that was caught on camera.
“Being depressed, because he lost his job, he lost his girlfriend, but he never did anything like that,” she said. “They’re nuts, he’s not a terrorist. I think they all exaggerated it because he never did anything bad.”
Joseph Findley is now being held without bond, pending a hearing later this week in U.S. District Court.