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Morgantown man faces grand larceny charges in construction site thefts

Over the weekend, West Virginia State Police arrested a Morgantown man suspected of taking over $1,300 worth of tools, as well as a vehicle, from a local construction site a few days before Christmas.

On Friday, Dec. 23, Trooper A.L. Barnette spoke to the owner of Wolfe Landscapes Plus, LLC, who reported that around midnight the previous evening about $1,320 worth of hand and power tools belonging to the company were stolen from inside townhomes currently being built on Cessna Drive off of Cheat Road, a criminal complaint said.

According to Barnette’s report, video surveillance footage captured a white male with a noticeable neck tattoo entering the townhomes.  Because the townhomes are still under construction, he was able to enter without a key or using force.

A short while later the video allegedly showed the suspect, who the investigation later identified as Todd Matthew Houston, 33, of Morgantown, loading the stolen items into a black Subaru sedan and driving away from the area.

The following day, the complaint states Barnette received a second call from the business owner who had just discovered a white Ford F-250 pickup had also been taken from the scene.

Further review of the security footage allegedly showed the same suspect return to the scene about 20 minutes after leaving the first time.  According to Barnette’s report, Houston walked around the pickup while shining a flashlight in and around it before entering the truck.  At that time, the video footage timed out.

After identifying Houston as a possible suspect, Barnette located the stolen tools in the garage of his residence.

The Ford F-250, which was valued at approximately $5,000, was also located after a suspicious vehicle was reported to be parked near an abandoned house on Round Bottom Road in Morgantown.  

According to the complaint, the person reporting the suspicious vehicle was able to provide a photograph which showed the stolen pickup, as well as the black Subaru sedan Houston was driving at the time of the theft.

Houston was taken into custody and is being charged with two counts of grand larceny and one count of entry without breaking.  He pleaded not guilty to the charges at a Jan. 1 arraignment.  He is currently being held at North Central Regional Jail on $30,000 bond.

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