8 tons: Former Port Arthur department supervisor convicted in metal theft

Joseph Soliz

A Jefferson County jury found former City of Port Arthur Water Utilities Distribution Maintenance Supervisor Joseph Soliz guilty on six counts of theft of metal by a public servant on Dec. 14 for stealing more than 8 tons – 16,000 pounds – of city-owned metals during his tenure there.

Soliz was arrested and charged with theft on Feb. 10, 2016, following an internal review and investigation by the Port Arthur Police Department and the Jefferson County District Attorney’s office. According to information from the investigation and the probable cause affidavit for his arrest, Soliz stole metal belonging to the City of Port Arthur Water Department and sold it to a scrap yard in Beaumont. Investigators say Soliz stole the eight tons of regulated metal over a period of about seven years, pocketing approximately $26,000 in the process.

Soliz was one of several city employees indicted and arrested for various thefts from the municipality during an anti-corruption cleansing that took place over the course of several months following the Port Arthur administration’s internal investigation.

The jury sentenced Soliz to two years in state jail probated over five years.