Lafourche Parish Sheriff Craig Webre announced the arrest of a fugitive wanted in Utah for crimes dating back to 2003. Richard Schleininger, 49, was found to have been living in Bayou Blue for more than a decade under the alias, “Alex Paton” (PAY-tun).
On January 8, 2020, deputies with the Problem-Oriented Policing Squad (“POP” Squad) were in the area of LA Highway 316 and Bayou Blue By-Pass Road in Bayou Blue when they noticed a man traveling on a riding lawnmower on private property, passing several “No Trespassing” signs. Aware of recent trespassing complaints in the area, the deputies stopped the man. He identified himself as Alex Paton but could provide no proof of identification.
After questioning, the man was arrested and taken to the Lafourche Parish Correctional Complex in Thibodaux. There was no match for his fingerprints in the state’s database. Believing the individual was concealing his true identity, the deputies worked with detectives to conduct a more extensive fingerprint search nationwide in conjunction with the FBI. As a result, deputies identified the man Richard Schleininger, and he had two active warrants in Utah. He was wanted for Aggravated Assault (the equivalent of Second Degree Battery in Louisiana) as part of a domestic incident in 2003 and for Felony Theft in 2004. Authorities in Utah were notified and began researching the cases to determine if he could be extradited. Meanwhile, Schleininger was booked on the charges of Criminal Trespassing and Resisting an Officer. He was released the following day after posting $1,000 bail.
Last week, authorities in Utah notified deputies that Schleininger would be extradited. On January 23, 2020, deputies contacted Schleininger outside his residence, and he was taken back into custody. He is now being held without bail for police in Bountiful, Utah, a city located just north of Salt Lake City.
Sheriff Webre applauded the efforts of the deputies on the case. “This started as a simple trespassing complaint, but these deputies trusted their gut and realized something wasn’t adding up,” said Sheriff Webre. “They did their due diligence to identify this man only to learn he had been on the run for 17 years. This just shows there is no such thing as a ‘routine’ incident for us.”
Over the course of the investigation, deputies learned Schleininger had arrived in Lafourche Parish approximately 11 years ago and had been living in Bayou Blue since that time. Sheriff Webre said that a lack of interaction with law enforcement and a lack of steady employment contributed to this man’s ability to conceal his identity for so long.
“This man was hiding in plain sight,” said Sheriff Webre. “Other than an animal complaint he made in 2014, we had no other interaction with him until his arrest. He also only worked odd jobs for cash, and by avoiding traditional employment, he was never forced to verify his identity otherwise.”