Over the last 13 months, the commercial steel distributor known has Southwestern Suppliers has been a victim of more than 618,000 pounds of steel rebar theft.
Through a collaborative effort with the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office and TPD, detectives determined that the company foreman, 36-year-old Paul Barton, led the crime ring. Barton and the company fork lift driver, 50-year-old Robert Head, worked with the two other suspects: 54-year-old Troy Roberts and 55-year-old Mike Barber, who are not employees, to take, transport and sell the steel rebar to OU Metals.
OU Metals is a metal recycling company in HCSO’s jurisdiction. The suspects sold the metals for $120,000 and the business lost more than $400,000 as a result of the thefts. Through this joint investigation, Roberts and Barber were identified as being responsible for the transportation of the stolen material.