By Nakia Cooper
June 24, 2014
A Houston man is accused of stealing more than $500,000 worth of metal from his employer over a two-month period and selling it to a scrap metal yard.
Jeffrey Bryan Sutherlin, 31, was charged with aggregate theft.
Houston police said the thefts occurred between April 10 and June 5.
A manager for Weatherford Manufacturing said he noticed several inserts made of Inconel metal missing from the inventory and conducted an audit.
The manager then checked surveillance video, which showed Sutherlin carrying a piece of pipe out of the warehouse on June 4. The manager said he had grown suspicious of Sutherlin because his behavior had recently changed, according to court documents. A theft report was filed with the Houston Police Department.
Police ran Sutherlin's name through a leads online database for sale of scrap metal and got a hit.
Sutherlin was allegedly selling Inconel metal to U.S. Scrap Metal Buyers on the North Freeway. A total of 13 sales transactions were made.
U.S. Scrap Metal Buyers positively identified insert receivers, which were unique pieces manufactured by Weatherford, in its inventory. Police also had pictures of the stolen merchandise and heat numbers, which were compared to the inventory in stock. They positively matched 41 pieces of insert drivers.
Police and the manager went to question Sutherlin at his home, and he allegedly admitted stealing.
The weight of the stolen merchandise was 2,255 pounds and the total loss for the company totaled $525,617.04.
Sutherlin's bail almost matched that amount, being set at $500,000.