Birmingham police took the suspected toilet thieves into custody at the Chevron on 29th Street South and Clairmont Avenue. Source: Alan Collins/WBRC
The suspects' truck. Police believe they may have been plumbers. Source: Alan Collins/WBRC
BIRMINGHAM, AL (WBRC) -
A father and son suspected of stealing parts from toilets at Birmingham-area restaurants are now in custody.
A total of five Birmingham restaurants were hit on Wednesday, including the McAllister's, Guthries and Waffle House near UAB on 18th Street South.
Police had photos of a white-haired gentlemen, plus a description of the suspects' green F150 truck.
The truck was spotted at a Chevron gas station at the corner of 29th Street and Clairmont Avenue a little before noon on Thursday. Police arrived and took the duo into custody without incident.
Birmingham police Lt. Sean Edwards said parts from the toilets, such as flushing valves, were turning up at scrapyards. Police believe one of the suspects is a plumber and may have been selling the stolen parts for scrap.
"There was a lot of plumbing equipment. Believe it or not, one of the individuals is a plumber. Unfortunately he was using his skills, his craft to fund his illegal activities," Edwards said.
Guthrie's owner Bruce Brown said the suspect came in and went to the restroom where within minutes, he ripped off plumbing from the sink.
"Just strange. I don't understand the motivation. It wasn't worth a lot of what he took but we are going to get it all fixed up and back to normal," Brown said.
Brown said it would cost him about $200 to make repairs. Many restaurant owners are hoping the thieves are off the streets.
"Hopefully the toilet thieves are history," Brown said.
Both Brown and Lt. Edwards called the thefts "bizarre." So far, no charges have been filed.
Police have not yet said if the thefts in Forestdale and Birmingham are connected, but an investigator with the Jefferson County Sheriff's Office was on the scene when the duo was arrested in Birmingham.