Two METRO workers fired, accused of stealing equipment

HOUSTON (KTRK) -- Two METRO employees hired in 2013 were off the job a little more than a year later, now accused and charged in two theft cases.

METRO says the men worked at the Metro Rail Operations Center on Bellfort near Fannin. They are accused of stealing supplies and equipment that belonged to the Transit Authority.

One rider said, "I think it's crazy, stealing from the city?" as she got off the train Tuesday.

Information in probable cause documents filed by prosecutors claim around July 2013 Reginald Ratcliff took 50 wood rail cross ties and sold them while he was Metro Track Chief.

Another rider said, "I'm surprised, very surprised. An employee?"

Allegations against Fred Burton stem from an alleged incident in May 2014. Prosecutors say he had instructed three METRO track maintenance employees to load a welder generator onto a METRO truck. The accusations go on to say "the next morning the welder generator was no longer in the bed of the truck that they loaded it on to and it was never seen again."

Riders commented on the charges as they got off the trains saying, "Some people do the wrong thing when they should be doing the right." Another man says he'll wait for their day in court, "They get a fair chance and to explain their side. A lot of times the proof is in the pudding you know."

Ratcliff has a criminal history dating back to 1987 from theft to filing a false report and three assault charges.

METRO Police Chief Vera Bumpers released a statement saying, "I want to thank the METRO employees who came forward to help with the MPD investigation into missing surplus rail ties and tools at the Rail Operations Center. That investigation resulted in the termination of two employees. This type of conduct will not be tolerated at METRO and we commend the District Attorney's Office for filing charges against two former METRO employees."
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