Twenty bleacher planks were discovered missing from Bull Sallas Park by an East Montgomery County park maintenance manager from Pct. 4 Commissioner James Mett’s Office during routine inspection on May 26. The bleachers are used for family and friends to cheer one the youth’s sporting events at the park.
According to a statement from Montgomery County Pct. 4 Constable Kenneth “Rowdy” Hayden, initial observation showed 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. A day later four additional bleacher planks were discovered missing.
Pct. 4 detectives investigated the scene, interviewing nearby residents, also focusing on what appeared to be drag marks in the dirt from where the bleachers were stolen from and taken to. Intel during the investigation led detectives to a scrap yard where the bleachers reportedly were located and James Thomley, 58, of New Caney was identified as the suspect.
An arrest warrant was filled out and signed by a judge on July 11 after presenting the evidence to the Montgomery County District Attorney’s Office.
The next day, July 12, Pct. 4 deputies were on an unrelated traffic stop during the early morning hours. As the occupants were being arrested for a felony narcotic charge along with various warrants, deputies allowed them to phone a friend to take possession of the vehicle.
The subject who arrived on scene was Thomley who just had the arrest warrant issued from the previous day for the theft of the bleachers; he too was taken into custody.
Constable Hayden stated, “Stealing from a county park is stealing from the youth and families of East Montgomery County. 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”.
Thomley is charged with a state jail felony of Theft of Materials.