Multiple agencies involved in expanded investigation at scrapyard where stolen steel was found
NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - Investigators from several law enforcement agencies sealed off the Uptown Recycling Yard on Wednesday (May 24) after a tipster led them to the recovery of hundreds of tons of stolen steel.
Thieves loaded the steel girders onto a flatbed trailer over the weekend about a block away from the scrapyard at the construction site for a new, upscale golf and entertainment business, 504 Golf.
The steel was loaded back onto a trailer and returned to the site, where the former Times-Picayune building once stood, Wednesday morning.
The property is now the target of a multijurisdictional investigation.
“We work with local federal and state, and to see everybody come together and look at a piece of the puzzle and take something away from that positively is a wonderful feeling,” said Darlene Cusanza, with Crimestoppers.
Officers with the New Orleans Police Department, Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office Jefferson Parish Fire Department, and state police poured over the recycling yard.
A source tells Fox 8 an arrest warrant could be looming, though no information about suspects was disclosed Wednesday afternoon.
“In this case, it was a small number of tips, but it doesn’t matter. It just takes that one tip,” said Cusanza.
Police are reportedly investigating a number of thefts, allegedly involving stolen vehicles, stolen telecommunications gear, and New Orleans Sewerage & Water Board property, in addition to the four truckloads of steel taken from the 504 Golf site.
Related: $300k in steel beams stolen from 504 Golf construction site
Uptown Recycling has had its business license pulled at least twice in the last 15 years, according to the Secretary of State, and may be facing more sanctions as the investigation continues
504′s owner says many of the girders are damaged and the project will likely be delayed once again.
“We manufacture those in eight weeks. Hopefully, it won’t be too bad, but right now we are looking at an eight-week delay,” said Developer Alex Xiao.
The thieves broke open a fence and tore down four utility poles outfitted with security cameras when they brought an 18-wheeler to steal the girders over the weekend. Xiao says he will now work to upgrade security as he tries to get his project back on track.
We made repeated efforts to contact the owner of Uptown Recycling, but have not been successful.
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