Thief steals part of restaurant's toilet to sell as scrap metal

By Jace Larson - Investigative Reporter

HARRIS COUNTY, Texas - A barbecue restaurant manager says he's out of about $1,600 after a thief stole parts of the urinals in his men's bathroom Saturday afternoon.

"He was in and out of the building in three minutes," Red River BBQ General Manager Chris Moreno said. "He came in and said all he needed to do was use the restroom and he was waiting on some people.  Then he went right back out the door and jumped in his truck and took off."

Thieves often steal copper or brass pipes from businesses because they can be sold for scrap metal.

Moreno, whose business is at 1711 South Mason Road in west Harris County, had to call a plumber to replace part of the pipe that was stolen. With parts and labor, his bill was $1,600, he said.

Moreno has turned over security camera video of the suspect to Harris County Sheriff's Office Deputies. The video does not show the actual theft.

To prevent someone from doing the same thing again, Moreno installed $80 locks on the toilets.

The manager at Longhorn Steakhouse at 20636 Katy Freeway told investigative reporter Jace Larson that someone has stolen parts of their toilets recently too.

After this story was initially published, the owner of Harris County Smokehouse at 14243 FM 2920 in Tomball wrote to Larson and said a thief hit her restaurant on Dec. 16 at 12:40 p.m.

"The guy came in and went straight to the men's bathroom. He was in and out in three minutes," Tammy Chambers said. "We had never heard of this before."

Chambers' husband installed replacement parts. The parts alone cost $600.

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