Railroad track vandalized in Dakota County

People in one Dakota County neighborhood are concerned after police say someone vandalized the railroad tracks near their homes.

Investigators are looking into whether someone wanted to derail a train.

The vandalism apparently happened after routine inspections on the track Monday, but it wasn't discovered until Wednesday. Neighbors say they're fortunate a train didn't derail into their yards.

Bree Butorac says she often enjoys the view in her backyard, including the bridge that carries Union Pacific railroad tracks.

“A couple of days ago, I noticed the guys were out here fixing something and there were no trains that came through the whole day, which was really unusual,” said Butorac.

The Dakota County Sheriff told Fox 9 someone took up two feet of metal that connects one of the rails.

Neighbors say investigators with the railroad police went door-to-door on 204th Street West in Empire Township, asking neighbors what they heard or saw.

“It was either Monday or Tuesday night possibly that it happened, so it sounds like trains actually did go through once it happened, so we're just really lucky nothing happened,” she said.

The case remains unsolved and neighbors are keeping a close eye on the tracks, just in case.

“I love living next to the railroad tracks, and that's always something that I thought of: what if something happened?” said Butorac. “But now that something really happened or so close to happening, that just makes it all the more real and scary.”

The damage has been fixed and trains are running as normal.

The vandal, if caught, could face felony charges of intent to cause a derailment.

Anyone information is encouraged to contact the Dakota County Sheriff's Office.