SHREVEPORT, La. (KSLA) - We’re learning more about the recent arrest of 3 employees in Shreveport’s Department of Water and Sewerage.
Tobashia Watson, 44, 36-year-old Antonio Church and 36-year-old Damion Coleman are accused of using city equipment, materials and even man-hours to have personal work done at their homes.
This case couldn’t come at a worse time — as the Shreveport Water Department has been under great scrutiny over major water billing issues.
Authorities told us the arrests were nothing short of a team effort that all began with a tip that a city backhoe could be seen at a property in the 27-hundred block of Millard Street for more than a month; property owned by Damion Coleman.
That tip went to city council members Grayson Boucher and James Flurry, who contacted a city auditor who in turn soon called in the Caddo Sheriff's Office, ultimately leading to those arrests.
Authorities also accuse Coleman of taking more than $2,000 worth of city gravel to build a driveway.
That case then led investigators to a home on Dianne Street, owned by Watson, a zone supervisor at the water and sewerage department. Investigators said she used city equipment, material and even city labor to build a large concrete driveway, much of it thanks to fellow co-worker Antonio Church.
Grayson Boucher explained exactly why such cases are seen as a violation of public trust.
“Basically, it’s theft of goods from the city and the taxpayers," Boucher said.
“And I think that the most important part is that anybody that works for the city or that’s in an elective office should be held to a higher standard,” he added. "I mean, it’s not our money to be taken away.”
Flurry added that they hope would-be criminals get one message loud and clear:
"We're letting people know that our eyes are wide open and as we get information we're going to pursue it to the fullness of the law."
While the sheriff’s office confirms the investigation is still ongoing — it’s unclear whether that could mean any more arrests in the case.
A spokesman for the City of Shreveport told us Tuesday night that one of the three arrested employees has been fired, another retired and the third will have a meeting with human resources on Wednesday.