A St. Charles Parish wastewater employee, who had previously been arrested in connection with the theft of aluminum, was fired after parish officials say he stole $34,500 in electrical components and copper wiring.
The theft was revealed in an audit report released by the state’s legislative auditor last week. According to the report, the parish discovered that the main electrical panel box and six duplex electrical racks were missing from the Luling Oxidation Pond in 2012. The electrical panels contained 28,000 feet of copper wiring and the parish estimated that $34,500 worth of materials had been stolen.
The foreman for the parish’s Wastewater Department confronted Brent White, of Ama, about the theft after it was discovered.
According to a parish report, White said that he cut up the panels and discarded them after the panel was knocked down by a storm in April of 2012. He told the foreman that there was no copper wiring in the panels.
White was arrested on June 29 and fired on July 12 after an internal investigation by the parish. Though the incident was reported to police, parish spokeswoman Renee Simpson said personnel records show White has not been charged yet and is awaiting a court appearance. Instead, parish officials met with St. Charles Parish District Attorney Joel Chaisson and agreed that White should provide restitution.
However, Simpson said that White has not paid the parish any money and that pursuing charges against him will be the next step taken.
White was arrested in connection with another theft a year before the Oxidation Pond incident. A man told police that he was pulling into his house in May 2011 when he saw White loading aluminum sheets, worth an estimated $750, into his truck from the victim’s home. The man used his vehicle to block White in his driveway and waited until a deputy with the St. Charles Parish Sheriff’s Office arrived.
White was taken into custody, but the charges were eventually refused by the St. Charles Parish District Attorney’s Office.
Simpson said the parish was not aware of White’s previous arrest, but since the charges were dropped they had no reason to take any action.
A status conference in White’s case is set for Sept. 9.