Water utility workers caught stealing, selling brass fittings

Dec. 15, 2016
More than $500,000 in brass fittings from the utility system were stolen and sold at scrap yards.

NEW ORLEANS, LA, DECEMBER 15, 2016 --Ten former employees of the Sewerage and Water Board of New Orleans have been arrested and charged with theft.

The Office of Inspector General said the employees stole more than $500,000 in brass fittings from the utility system and sold them at local scrap yards.

In a press conference the morning of Wednesday, Dec. 14, Inspector General Ed Quatrevaux said the investigation was launched after the S&WB employees showed identification at the scrap yard where they sold the stolen materials.

The S&WB employees made about $41,500 over four years from selling household fittings, a fraction of what the items are actually worth.

The New Orleans Times-Picayne reports that 793 pounds of brass fittings disappeared from the Sewerage and Water Board in 2013. That number more than doubled the next year, and by 2015,about 23,500 pounds was stolen. In 2016, about 7,800 pounds were stolen. The utility paid about $15.30 a pound for the fittings, a loss of $526,565.

Using computer analytics, the Inspector General discovered the theft, and opened an investigation in January. S&WB fired the workers after discovering the theft.

Arrest warrants were issued for the workers, who have not been named, on Friday.

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