HOUSTON A 51-year-old man is accused of stealing two plug valves worth $18,000 a piece from Center Point Energy on Oct. 19 in east Houston, according to the Houston Police Department.

Roberto Gonzalez faces a felony theft charge since the total value of the metal allegedly stolen is less than $100,000 and greater than $20,000, court documents state.

Investigators with HPD s Metal Theft Unit said in an affidavit that Scott Dunlap, superintendent for Center Point Energy located at the 9500 block of Lawndale, discovered that two large gas pipe valves were missing from the pipe yard on Oct. 22.

Dunlap found a trail of something heavy being dragged to the roadway, the affidavit states. He followed the drag marks, which led him to Ironman Scrap Metals located at the 1900 block of Goodyear.

Dunlap met with James Mitchell, the manager of Ironman Scrap Metals, who checked his inventory to and located the missing valves, the affidavit states. Mitchell said he had purchased them from Gonzalez on Oct. 19 and 20.

After investigators presented Mitchell with a photo spread, he was able to positively identify Gonzalez as the person who sold him the valves.

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