NEW CANEY, Texas (KTRK) -- A Montgomery County man has been arrested after $10,000 worth of bleachers were stolen from Bull Sallas Park.
James Thomley, 58, is charged with felony theft of materials - metal.
The 20 bleacher planks were discovered missing on May 26 by an East Montgomery County Park maintenance manager during a routine inspection, according to Pct. 4 Commissioner James Mett's office.
The bleachers are used in the park by visitors cheering on youth's sporting events.
Photos released by Pct. 4 showed where the bleachers were missing in the park.
Investigators said they observed what appeared to be drag marks in the dirt where the bleacher planks were dragged across the field to a residence on Liberty Street, located next to the park.
The next day, officials said four additional bleacher planks were discovered missing.
After interviews with nearby residents, intel led detectives to a scrap yard where the bleachers were located, and Thomley was identified as the suspect.
On the morning of July 12, Pct. 4 deputies were working an unrelated traffic stop. Since the occupants of the vehicle were being arrested for a felony narcotics charge in addition to various warrants, deputies allowed them to call a friend to take possession of their vehicle.
That's when Thomley arrived at the scene, officials said. His arrest warrant for the bleacher theft had just been issued the previous day.
Deputies took Thomley into custody, in addition to the occupants of the vehicle.
"Stealing from a county park is stealing from the youth and families of East Montgomery County," Constable Hayden said. "This theft of metal has cost the County $10,000 to purchase new bleachers, thus taking away from the funds the county could spend on other improvements and maintenance to the park."