Husband, wife charged with stealing, selling SAWS water meters

Albino Ortiz, wife Maria, charged with theft of brass


SAN ANTONIO – A husband and wife identified as Albino Ortiz, 34, and Maria Ortiz, 32, are both facing multiple counts of metal theft in connection with a scheme that investigators said involved stealing brass water meters and selling them to a metal recycler. 

The stolen water meters belonged to the San Antonio Water System, Albino Ortiz's employer, according to an arrest affidavit.

The affidavit stated that a state investigator who was conducting a regulatory inspection of an unnamed metal recycler last July discovered the situation.  

The investigator noticed someone was selling new and used brass water meters and meter parts to the recycler, and the identifying numbers had been ground off of the metal in most cases, the affidavit stated. 

The investigator later identified the suspects as the sellers. The affidavit stated that he discovered that Albino Ortiz, who worked for SAWS, and his wife, Maria, had sold more than 10,000 pounds of brass to the business between 2006 and 2014. 

According to the affidavit, there were a few items where the identification numbers were still visible, and that is how investigators linked the sale of the brass to the couple.

Albino Ortiz was questioned by authorities and confessed to the crime, the affidavit stated. 

Investigators said he admitted to stealing the water meters and having his wife sell the metal.

The suspects were booked into jail Tuesday, each on six counts of theft of brass.

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