Man charged with stealing fence tells his side of story

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PITTSBURGH —

A man arrested after police accused him of stealing a piece of railing from a city sidewalk believes he did nothing wrong and was helping the environment.

Brian Ray is charged with stealing a piece of fence along Noblestown Road in the city’s West End.

“I’m not going in anyone’s house and stealing copper. I just picked up some old fence that was rusted and took it to the scrap yard,” Ray said.

According to police, Ray broke off the sidewalk railing and stole city property, creating a dangerous situation near a cliff.

Authorities said a person in a car reported suspicious activity about 10 a.m. Saturday morning. When police arrived, they said they found about 200 feet of railing and part of the fence in Ray’s truck, officials said.

“If some car comes down and wipes that fence out and it goes over the hillside, the city leaves the fence there for years and years. I’m just an honest guy that comes and picks it up,” Ray said.

Ray told Channel 11’s Vince Sims that he told police he didn’t break the railing off. He said he found it laying on the hillside and picked it up.

Ray said he refused to accept a plea bargain and plans on fighting the charges.

“I don’t think it was wrong. It’s already rusted and you can’t reuse it,” Ray said.

Public Works officials told police it could cost several thousand dollars to replace the fence.

Ray’s court date is set for November.