Two Men Arrested in Connection to Theft Investigation of Personal Watercrafts

Lafourche Parish Sheriff Craig Webre announced two Raceland men have been arrested in connection with an investigation into the theft of personal watercrafts. Chaz Rodrigue, 29, and Marvin Sevier, 27, both of Raceland, face charges stemming from the investigation.

On May 18, 2018, deputies observed a truck, which was reported stolen in Terrebonne Parish, traveling on U.S. Highway 90 in Raceland with a Yamaha WaveRunner watercraft on a trailer in tow. As deputies attempted to make a traffic stop, the driver, later identified as Rodrigue, proceeded to LA Highway 308 and continued northbound until confronted with a bridge closure. Rodrigue turned into a cane field and eventually abandoned the vehicle, continuing to flee on foot. Deputies apprehended Rodrigue moments later. He was found to have methamphetamine, marijuana, and a stolen, loaded handgun in his possession. The personal watercraft was one of a pair recently stolen out of St. James Parish.

Rodrigue was booked into the Lafourche Parish Detention Center. He was charged with three counts of Illegal Possession of Stolen Things, Illegal Possession of a Stolen Firearm, Possession of a Firearm by a Convicted Felon, Illegal Carrying of a Weapon in the Presence of a Controlled Dangerous Substance, Resisting an Officer, no ignition interlock device, and no driver’s license, as well as Possession of Methamphetamine and Marijuana (2nd Offense). His bond is set at $116,550. Rodrigue was also booked on a Contempt of Court warrant for the Town of Lockport for which he has been ordered to pay $100 in fines and costs. He is also being held for Terrebonne Parish where he is wanted for Aggravated Flight from an Officer, Illegal Possession of Stolen Things and several other charges.

Later that evening, deputies located the other watercraft stolen out of St. James Parish near Sevier’s residence. As deputies approached the residence attempting to make contact, Sevier ran out the back door, but he was quickly apprehended. Sevier was found to have a handgun with an obliterated serial number in his possession. He was booked with Illegal Possession of Stolen Things and Possession of Firearms with an Obliterated Mark. He was subsequently released Tuesday, May 22 after posting $20,000 bond.

Detectives are also investigating the theft of a trailer and two Yamaha WaveRunner watercrafts during the early morning hours of May 15, 2018. The trailer and watercraft were found wrecked and abandoned just off LA 1 on May 16 near the Champagne-Harrelson Bridge in Mathews. Witnesses said the trailer detached from a truck near the intersection, and the driver fled the scene. Rodrigue and Sevier are considered persons of interest in that investigation.

The investigations into these incidents are continuing. Anyone with further information on these incidents is asked to submit a tip anonymously through Crime Stoppers Bayou Region by phone at 1-800-743-7433 or online at www.crimestoppersbr.org. Tips can also be submitted using the P3 Tips app on your mobile device. Tipsters could be eligible for a reward of up to $1,000 in cash if the information leads to an arrest.

Chaz Rodrigue
Chaz Rodrigue
Marvin Sevier
Marvin Sevier

UPDATE: Missing Teen Located

UPDATE: Krissa Flores has been located and is safe. 

ORIGINAL RELEASE:

Lafourche Parish Sheriff Craig Webre is asking for the public’s help in locating 15-year-old Krissa Flores of Cut Off. Flores’ grandmother dropped her off at South Lafourche High School at around 7 a.m. on Wednesday morning, but she never reported to any of her classes. Deputies later learned she was seen walking out of school at around 7:25 a.m. Wednesday morning.

Krissa Flores is described as 5’7” tall weighing approximately 180 pounds. She has brown hair and brown eyes. She was last seen wearing her school uniform which included a blue shirt and tan pants, as well as a gray jacket.

Anyone with information on Flores’ whereabouts is asked to call the Lafourche Parish Sheriff’s Office at (985) 532-2808, or simply call 9-1-1.

Krissa Flores
Krissa Flores

Governor Signs Bill for Statewide Adoption of LPSO Process for Firearm Divestiture for Domestic Abusers

Lt. Valerie Martinez-Jordan and Captain Karla Beck were on hand as Governor Edwards signed SB231 into law on Wednesday in Baton Rouge.
Lt. Valerie Martinez-Jordan and Captain Karla Beck were on hand as Governor Edwards signed SB231 into law on Wednesday in Baton Rouge.

Lafourche Parish Sheriff Craig Webre announced a bill enacting a local process by which domestic abusers divest their firearms has been signed into law by Governor John Bel Edwards. Senate Bill 231, authored by Senator J.P. Morrell of New Orleans, calls for statewide adoption of a process created by the Lafourche Parish Sheriff’s Office to track and monitor persons prohibited from possessing firearms due to a domestic battery conviction or qualifying protective order, as well as to assist in the divestiture of the firearms. Lafourche Parish Sheriff’s Office representatives were present in Baton Rouge on Wednesday, May 23 to witness Governor Edwards sign the bill into law.

“This is a momentous occasion not only for the Lafourche Parish Sheriff’s Office, but also for the fight against domestic violence,” said Sheriff Webre. “We are proud to have our own process implemented statewide, but we are more excited that these laws and this process will ultimately help save lives.”

In 2014, legislation was enacted wherein a person convicted of domestic abuse battery would be prohibited from possessing firearms for a period of ten years upon completion of sentence, probation, parole, or suspension of sentence. The law further mandated certain qualifying protective orders would also prohibit a person from possessing firearms for the duration of the order. The legislation did not, however, specify how the courts or law enforcement would notify and monitor these prohibited possessors.

“This presented an opportunity for us to employ creativity and innovation to develop a safe, effective, and practical mechanism in which to divest firearms,” said Sheriff Craig Webre.

Lieutenant Valerie Martinez-Jordan of LPSO’s Police Social Services section formulated a process wherein LPSO would identify those affected by the law, notify them, assist them with firearm divestiture, and track these individuals for the term of prohibited possession. This process required cooperation from the 17th Judicial District Court, municipal courts, the Lafourche Parish Clerk of Court, and the Lafourche Parish District Attorney’s Office to ensure all requirements were met for the firearm prohibition to take effect.

“We monitor all prohibited possessors in our internal data system which is shared by the other law enforcement agencies throughout the parish,” said Sheriff Webre. “Any time a law enforcement officer in Lafourche Parish encounters one of these individuals, they will immediately know the individual is prohibited from possessing firearms. If any firearms are discovered in that person’s possession during the course of the investigation, they can be charged accordingly.”

Senate Bill 231 was signed into law on May 23, 2018, and it will become law in October 2018. It calls for statewide adoption of the LPSO process by January 1, 2019, and includes stiffer penalties for violations of the original law. The final version of the bill ultimately passed with very little opposition in the legislature: 28-6 in the Senate and 93-0 in the House.

Over the coming months, LPSO will partner with the Louisiana Commission on Law Enforcement to offer training on the process throughout the state.

Since the 2014 legislation took effect and this process has been enacted, there have been NO shootings in Lafourche Parish by anyone prohibited from possessing firearms due to domestic abuse.

MISSING TEEN: Krissa Flores

UPDATE: Krissa Flores has been located and is safe.

ORIGINAL RELEASE:

Lafourche Parish Sheriff Craig Webre is asking for the public’s help in locating 15-year-old Krissa Flores of Cut Off. Flores’ grandmother dropped her off at South Lafourche High School at around 7 a.m. on Wednesday morning, but she never reported to any of her classes. Deputies later learned she was seen walking out of school at around 7:25 a.m. Wednesday morning.

Krissa Flores is described as 5’7” tall weighing approximately 180 pounds. She has brown hair and brown eyes. She was last seen wearing her school uniform which included a blue shirt and tan pants, as well as a gray jacket.

Anyone with information on Flores’ whereabouts is asked to call the Lafourche Parish Sheriff’s Office at (985) 532-2808, or simply call 9-1-1.

Krissa Flores
Krissa Flores

Bayou Blue Man Arrested for Sexual Battery of a Juvenile

Lafourche Parish Sheriff Craig Webre announced the arrest of Toby Benoit, 37, of Bayou Blue for sexual battery of a juvenile.

On May 15, 2018, the Lafourche Parish Sheriff’s Office received a report that Benoit had inappropriately touched a juvenile. Following an investigation by juvenile detectives, a warrant was issued for Benoit’s arrest.

On Monday, May 21, Benoit turned himself over to authorities. He was booked into the Lafourche Parish Detention Center with one count of Sexual Battery (Forcible Fondling). His bond is set at $250,000, and he is also being held for Louisiana Probation and Parole.

Due to the nature of the allegations, no further details will be released.

Toby Benoit
Toby Benoit

Choctaw Woman Exploits Elderly Man for More Than $95,000

Lafourche Parish Sheriff Craig Webre announced the arrest of Liela Legendre, 58, of Choctaw for Exploitation of the Infirmed. Earlier this month, detectives opened an investigation into Legendre after a report was filed alleging she was exploiting an elderly family member for which she had power of attorney. Detectives learned the Legendre had placed the man, who is in his 90s, in a nursing home and had taken over his financial affairs. In February 2018, another family member took over the power of attorney and began inspecting financial records. The family member discovered several instances where the elderly man’s finances were used by Legendre for her own personal use. Detectives discovered multiple instances of accounting discrepancies amounting to more than $95,000 which was believed to be used for Legendre’s personal use. One of the instances included a check made out to cash for $20,000 documented as being for future funeral expenses, but no money had been paid to the funeral home in question. Investigators also learned Legendre had traded in the man’s mobile home as a down payment toward the purchase of her own mobile home. Detectives met with the man, and he confirmed he did not authorize Legendre to make any of the aforementioned transactions. Following the investigation, detectives obtained a warrant for Legendre’s arrest. Detectives made contact with Legendre on May 15. She was arrested and booked into the Lafourche Parish Detention Center with Exploitation of the Infirmed, a felony. She was subsequently released after posting $5,000 bond.

Liela Legendre
Liela Legendre

UPDATE: Man Wanted in April Pursuit Now in Custody

Lafourche Parish Sheriff Craig Webre announced a Bayou Blue man who was sought following a vehicle pursuit last month is now in custody. Samuel Grant, 26, of Bayou Blue was arrested on Sunday. Christopher Gregoire, 18, of Houma was previously arrested in the incident.

On the morning of Friday, April 20, deputies attempted to conduct a traffic stop on a car traveling on Marcel Street in Bayou Blue. The driver of the car, Gregoire, refused to stop and accelerated to a high rate of speed. Gregoire then stopped the vehicle at the end of Marcel Street, and the passenger, Grant, exited the car and fled on foot. Deputies pursued Grant, but he eventually jumped into the bayou, and deputies lost sight of him. They searched the nearby area, but they were unable to locate him at that time. Gregoire was arrested, and deputies found suspected methamphetamine, marijuana, and drug paraphernalia in his possession, as well as additional amounts inside the vehicle. Gregoire was booked into the Lafourche Parish Detention Center on charges including Possession with Intent to Distribute Methamphetamine and Marijuana, Aggravated Flight from an Officer, DWI, no driver’s license, and no headlight. He remains in jail in lieu of $32,200 bond. Warrants were issued for Grant’s arrest following the incident.

Then, on the evening of Sunday, May 20, deputies received information about Grant possibly being located at a residence on Palmisano Drive in Bayou Blue. Upon arrival, deputies searched the residence and found Grant hiding in a void in the floor of the trailer. Grant was arrested and booked on warrants for Possession with Intent to Distribute Marijuana and Methamphetamine, as well as Possession of Drug Paraphernalia, Resisting an Officer, and no seat belt. He was also booked on warrants for Simple Battery, Domestic Abuse Battery, and Resisting an Officer in reference to unrelated incidents. His bond is set at $39,050.

Samuel Grant
Samuel Grant
Christopher Gregoire
Christopher Gregoire

Seven Charged with DWI over the Weekend Including Man Riding Lawnmower

Sheriff Craig Webre announced the Lafourche Parish Sheriff’s Office charged seven people with DWI offenses over the weekend, spanning Friday evening through Sunday. One of those arrested included a man whom deputies caught riding a lawnmower while drunk.

At around 12:15 a.m. on Saturday, May 19, deputies observed a man riding a lawnmower on the shoulder of LA Highway 3162 in Cut Off. Deputies observed the man swerve into the westbound lane of traffic and travel back to the shoulder. Deputies then stopped the man and identified him as Brian Cheramie, 59, of Cut Off. Deputies found Cheramie to have an active Contempt of Court warrant for the Town of Golden Meadow, and he admitted to drinking several beers before riding the lawnmower. He performed poorly on a field sobriety test, and a breathalyzer test showed him to have a blood alcohol level of 0.144g%. Cheramie was arrested and booked into the Lafourche Parish Detention Center on the aforementioned warrant and DWI (2nd Offense). His bond is set at $2,800.

Also on Saturday morning, just after 2 a.m., deputies conducted a traffic stop on a vehicle being driven by Jeffery Harris, 58, of Alabama. The stop was conducted on LA Highway 316 in Bayou Blue. Harris admitted to having smoked marijuana and having consumed alcohol prior to driving. Deputies located a small amount of marijuana in his possession. He refused to submit to a field sobriety test or a breathalyzer test. A warrant was obtained for a blood test, and the results are pending. He was also found to have no valid driver’s license. Harris was arrested and booked with DWI (2nd Offense), Possession of Marijuana, Careless Operation, and no driver’s license. He was released after posting $3,400 bond.

A few hours prior, at around 9:45 p.m. on Friday, May 18, deputies conducted a traffic stop on a vehicle traveling along LA Highway 1 in Raceland. The driver was identified as Denise Sneeze, 32, of Raceland, and she was showing signs of possible impairment. She performed poorly on a field sobriety test, and a breathalyzer test showed her blood alcohol level to be 0.00g%. A warrant was then obtained for a blood test, and the results are pending. Deputies found Sneeze had three prior DWI arrests, and her license was currently suspended due to a recent DWI. She was charged with DWI (4th Offense), driving under suspension, and improper lane usage. She was subsequently released after posting $11,600 bond.

The following individuals were also charged with DWI offenses:

  • Tevin Robinson, 26, of Larose was charged with DWI, Carless Operation, and no driver’s license.
  • Wynton Young, 22, of Raceland was charged with DWI and speeding.
  • Willie Noel Jr., 34, of Marrero was charged with DWI, improper vehicle lighting, and improper lane usage.
  • Luis De La Funte Vitela, 28, of Houma was charged with DWI, improper vehicle lighting, and no driver’s license.
Brian Cheramie
Brian Cheramie
Denise Sneeze
Denise Sneeze
Jeffery Harris
Jeffery Harris

Detectives Investigating Overnight Shooting in Thibodaux

Lafourche Parish Sheriff Craig Webre announced detectives are investigating a shooting which occurred overnight in Thibodaux. There are no reported injuries stemming from the incident.

At around 11:15 p.m. on Sunday, May 20, deputies responded to Michelle Place in Thibodaux in reference to calls of gun shots heard in the area. Deputies responded and found a residence had been struck multiple times by rounds. Inside the residence, a woman and her two children were unharmed. Deputies located numerous spent shell casings outside the residence.

Detectives are asking for the public’s help to solve this crime. Anyone with information on this shooting is asked to submit a tip anonymously through Crime Stoppers Bayou Region by phone at 1-800-743-7433 or online at www.crimestoppersbr.org. Tips can also be submitted using the P3 Tips app on your mobile device. Tipsters could be eligible for a reward of up to $1,000 in cash if the information leads to an arrest.

2018 LSA Scholarship and Norman Swanner Scholarship Winners Announced

Lafourche Parish Sheriff Craig Webre has announced the winners of two local $500 scholarships. Ethan Naquin, a senior at E.D. White Catholic High School, has been selected as the recipient of the 2018 Louisiana Sheriffs’ Association Scholarship for Lafourche Parish. Additionally, Renee Rink, a part-time LPSO employee, has won the 2018 Norman Swanner Scholarship award. Both students plan to enroll in Nicholls State University this fall.

Naquin plans to complete an undergraduate degree in pre-medicine at Nicholls before attending medical school. After college, he hopes to become a neurosurgeon. Rink has attended Nicholls State University for the past four years and is currently enrolled in the nursing program. She plans to become a registered nurse. She has been employed part-time with LPSO as a communications equipment operator for nearly four years.

“Both Mr. Naquin and Ms. Rink are two outstanding young talents in our area,” said Sheriff Webre. They are both hard-working individuals chasing their dreams, and I am happy we can assist them in their endeavors. I have no doubt these two motivated students will achieve great things.”

Criteria for the scholarships are similar in that both require applicants to plan to enroll as a full-time student at Nicholls State University, L.E. Fletcher Technical Community College, or South Central Louisiana Technical Community College. The Louisiana Sheriffs’ Association requires the applicant to be a graduating high school senior and permanent resident of Lafourche Parish. The Swanner Scholarship, which was first awarded in 2016, is only open to Lafourche Parish Sheriff’s Office employees or their immediate family members, and current undergraduate college students are eligible in addition to graduating high school seniors. Both scholarships are awarded as gifts, not loans, to defray the rising costs of tuition and related expenses in higher education.  An independent board of review selects the winner of each scholarship.

The Louisiana Sheriffs’ Educational Scholarship Program awards $500 to graduating high school students in parishes where the sheriffs are members of the Louisiana Sheriffs’ Honorary Membership Program. Funding for this scholarship is made possible through the generous support of Lafourche Parish’s Honorary Members. The goal of the program is to provide assistance to worthy Louisiana students in furthering their education and training with resources made available through the program.

The Norman Swanner Foundation is a non-profit organization created in memory of Norman Swanner, a Thibodaux resident who passed away on November 8, 2006. Swanner was a City Councilman at the time of his death. Swanner’s daughter, Jamie Beth Swanner, also passed away on December 24, 2012. The Foundation funds several awards and scholarships for students at Nicholls State University and several high schools throughout the region.

2018 LSA Scholarship
Lt. Brennan Matherne and Ethan Naquin
2018 Swanner Scholarship
Neal Swanner and Renee Rink