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Thieves steal expensive batteries from cranes, backhoes used to repair flooded road

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IBERVILLE PARISH- Thieves stole thousands of dollars worth of batteries from heavy construction equipment parked in Iberville Parish.

When work crews showed up, the power sources were missing from the cranes, back hoes, excavators, and generators.

"Contractor was on the job site and every battery was missing from the machines, and had to go out and buy $3,000 worth of batteries to put back in the equipment," Parish President Mitch Ourso said.

Parish leaders believe the grinches who stole the batteries knew exactly what they were doing.

"They call them 8d batteries," Ourso said. "They are this long. They must weigh a couple hundred pounds and they took every last one of them."

All of the equipment for the road project is being housed on the Iberville Parish side. But, parish leaders believe the thieves came in from the Ascension Parish side.

"We have contacted our brethren in Ascension Parish to help us with it," Sheriff Brett Stassi said. "This type of vandalism is done on these remote locations, they come in on four wheelers take them and try to sell them."

The road closure and subsequent repairs are a result of the August 2016 flood. Water spilled over Bayou Manchac into the Spanish Lake Basin.

Multiple road cuts were made to get the water out in a collaborative effort between Ascension and Iberville Parishes to give the residents who live in the area some relief. The project that is currently underway will prevent the road from having to be cut during future flood events as additional flood gates are added to the area.

When the project was awarded at the end of the summer, parish leaders estimated it would take about a year. They say despite the battery thefts, the project is ahead of schedule and should be complete by the summer.

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