St. Tammany Sheriff’s investigators arrested a Metairie man last week in connection with the theft of approximately $750,000 worth of scrap materials from the old twin spans, Sheriff Jack Strain announced this morning.
Jason Hedges (4409 Hearst St #329, Metairie, LA – DOB: 3/10/1978) was booked June 19th with one count of L.R.S. 14:67.B.1 – Theft over $1,500. He was released the same day on $50,000 bond.
Hedges was working for NASDI, LLC, a demolition contractor tasked with the removal of the old twin spans. Part of the contract involved NASDI recycling or selling for scrap some of the materials after the bridges were demolished.
Company officials became concerned when they noticed a suspicious lack of proper record-keeping with the job. NASDI representatives initially contacted N.O.P.D., who referred the case to the St. Tammany Parish Sheriff’s Office when the theft was determined to have occurred on the northshore.
Hedges’ scheme involved the delivery of a portion of the metal scrap to unsanctioned recycling and scrap firms in exchange for cash payments. Based on information provided by NASDI, investigators estimate approximately $750,000 worth of scrap was diverted to these other firms. Detectives have traced over $300,000 in cash payments to Hedges.
The cash payments began in November of 2011 and continued through May of this year.
Investigators are still determining whether Hedges acted alone or if there were others involved in the scheme.
The penalty for theft over $1,500 carries a maximum penalty of up to 10 years imprisonment at hard labor and a fine of up to $3,000.