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Tania Dall / Eyewitness News
Email: tdall@wwltv.com | Twitter: @taniadall

NEWORLEANS-- New Orleans' iconic Sewerage & Water Board meter covers continue to be a hot commodity sold illegally on websites like eBay.

Now a concerned citizen is pointing fingers at an unlikely culprit who he claims is taking them, and that alleged thief might surprise you.

'Since Katrina we've got a lot of new buildings over here,' said Ralph Jackson, who has lived on his block for about 30 years.

The Hollygrove resident has seen the neighborhood go through many changes, the most recent on Tuesday morning.

'The truck pulled up and he removed the water meter cover from across the street and replaced it with another one. He put that on his truck and came back and looked at my water meter cover,' said Jackson.

Around 11 a.m. Jackson says he spotted someone driving a Sewerage &Water Board truck removing historic meter covers and replacing them with new ones.

'When I yelled at him and asked what he was doing, he said it was broken. I said it's not broken. He immediately put it back and put the other cover in his truck and pulled off,' said Jackson, who immediately called the utility company to report the incident.

Jackson said he provided the customer service operator with the truck's number and said the Sewerage & Water Board confirmed that it didn't have any work scheduled in the area at the time.

Jackson hopes that the water board will get to the bottom of what he spotted not far from his front door step.

'Those things like that aren't suppose to happen, especially through a utility, and they have no documentation of it,' said Jackson. 'That's stealing on his own personal behalf.'

After two days of calling, emailing and texting the Sewerage & Water Board, company spokesman Robert Jackson issued this statement late Wednesday afternoon:

'The Sewerage and Water Board was notified by your reporter, Tania Dall, that an employee was observed in the Carrollton area attempting to remove a star and crescent meter cover and replace it with a plain meter cover. We have discovered in our investigation that the employee was operating under misinformation. The S&WB has no policy to remove star and crescent meter covers in front of residences and replace them with plain meter covers. We will continue to investigate this matter.'

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