Sheriff’s detectives arrested three Denham Springs men in connection with a series of thefts from a Livingston Parish public school construction site, the Sheriff’s Office reported Wednesday.
On Sept. 2, during a heavy downpour from Tropical Storm Lee, deputies responded to reports of a brush fire south of Denham Springs, said Perry Rushing, chief of operations for the Sheriff’s Office.
When they arrived at the scene, they found a man pouring gas on a fire being used to burn insulation off some copper wire, Rushing said.
Deputies confiscated the wire and gave the man a receipt, Rushing said in the release.
Four days later, detectives arrested the man, Brian P. Odom, 29, 9582 Hillon Hood, in connection with theft of copper wire from the new Live Oak High School construction site in Watson, Rushing said.
Odom had worked on the site for an electrical subcontractor, Rushing said.
The same day, deputies arrested two more men in connection with another theft at the same location, Rushing said.
The pair, who lived within walking distance of the school site, are suspected of stealing copper extension cords, Rushing said.
Eric B. McCall, 27, and Tyler Turner, 27, both of 36145 La. 16, were booked in connection with copper thefts from the construction site, Rushing said.
Odom was released on a $10,000 bail, while McCall and Turner remained locked up in the Livingston Parish Detention Center, Rushing said.
The site has been hit by thieves at least seven times, said Bruce Bacon, a job superintendent at the site.
“At first, they were stealing metal for scrap,” he said. “Then they started stealing extension cords.”
Thieves also took a mini-excavator and $20,000 worth of steel plating, Bacon said.
“They just cut the studs with a welding torch and hauled the plate steel off,” Bacon said.
That delayed work on the site by a few weeks because new plates had to be fabricated, Bacon said.
During the Labor Day holiday weekend, thieves broke into a container on the site and stole a generator, Bacon said.
“It was almost like they knew where to go,” he said. “They went right into the container and got it, and it was hid under some insulation.”
The thefts have cost the site about $40,000, Bacon said.