Raceland Man Arrested after Stabbing Another Man During Night of Drinking

Lafourche Parish Sheriff Craig Webre announced the arrest of a Raceland man for allegedly stabbing another man on Wednesday night. Henry Chapman is charged with Aggravated Second Degree Battery.

Just after 11 p.m. on December 4, 2019, deputies responded to a reported stabbing on Greenville Street in Raceland. Through investigation, deputies learned Chapman and another were at Chapman’s residence and both were consuming alcoholic beverages. At one point, Chapman produced a knife and stabbed the man several times. The victim was able to get away and walked to his nearby residence for help. The victim was found to have several wounds.

Meanwhile, additional deputies arrived in the area and took Chapman into custody at his residence. Investigators recovered a knife at the scene which is believed to be the one used in the incident. Chapman was arrested and charged with Aggravated Second Degree Battery. He was booked into the Lafourche Parish Correctional Complex in Thibodaux. Bail has not yet been set.

Henry Chapman
Henry Chapman

SCAM ALERT: Warrant Scam Affecting Lafourche Residents

Lafourche Parish Sheriff Craig Webre is warning citizens of a warrant scam which is again targeting our area. Several citizens reportedly received similar scam calls over the past few days.

In this version of this scam, the caller poses as a deputy or ranking member of the Lafourche Parish Sheriff’s Office and knows personal information about the victim. In some instances, the call appears to originate from a legitimate Sheriff’s Office number. The caller informs the victim that he or she has an active arrest warrant and must pay immediately by a prepaid debit card, electronic money order, or gift card to avoid arrest.

LPSO does attempt to notify individuals when fees and fines are due, but those individuals are directed to pay via our website at www.LPSO.net or in person at our office. In the event you would choose to pay a fine or ticket by phone, only a credit or debit card would be accepted. Prepaid debit cards, electronic money orders, and gift cards would not be acceptable forms of payment. If you fail to pay a fine or show up for court, and a warrant is issued for your arrest, the Lafourche Parish Sheriff’s Office would not call demanding payment. You can also verify warrants and certain fines due on the LPSO website.

“As technology improves, these scams have become more sophisticated,” said Sheriff Webre. “Still, all the usual signs of a scam are still present, and we want citizens to become familiar with these tactics.”

Like every scam, this one contains aspects of reality as well as typical signs of a scam. The demand for “immediate” payment by an incoming caller and the payment method (prepaid debit card, electronic money order, or gift card) are two signs this is a scam.

Other signs of a scam could include a caller asking you to send money to receive money or prizes, a caller using threatening or vulgar language, or someone calling from a department, but not giving the name of the company.

Ultimately, if you are concerned the call may be legitimate, simply hang up and call the Lafourche Parish Sheriff’s Office at (985) 532-2808. Do not call a number given to you by the incoming caller unless you verify it first. We encourage you to call the Lafourche Parish Sheriff’s Office BEFORE you send money if you have any doubt about the authenticity of any call. We would be happy to assist you to ensure you do not become the next scam victim. It is not necessary to report every phone scam, but if you lose money in a scam or receive threats of physical harm or violence, you should report it to the Lafourche Parish Sheriff’s Office or your local law enforcement agency.

LA 1 CLOSED Due to School Bus Crash (No Injuries)

UPDATE: the crash has been cleared, and the roadway is back open.

ORIGINAL RELEASE:

Lafourche Parish Sheriff Craig Webre reported LA Highway 1 is currently CLOSED due to a single-vehicle crash near West 56th Street in Cut Off. A school bus turning from West 56th Street to LA 1 ran off the roadway into a ditch. In addition to the driver, there were 34 children on board. No injuries were reported. All parents have been notified.

The closure is expected to last at least 30-60 minutes to allow for the removal of the bus from the ditch. Motorists should detour to LA 308 or LA 3235 during the closure.

Bus

UPDATE: Man Charged with Additional Sex Crimes after Fifth Victim Comes Forward

Lafourche Parish Sheriff Craig Webre announced a man arrested in October for sex crimes involving four victims faces new charges after a fifth victim has come forward. Gregory Berthusen, 53, of Cut Off now faces additional charges of indecent behavior and sexual battery.

In October 2019, Berthusen was arrested as a result of an investigation. Juvenile detectives found he allegedly had inappropriate contact with three teenage juvenile girls. A fourth victim, now an adult, reported Berthusen had sexually abused her for years beginning when she was nine years old.

Since that time, a fifth victim has come forward with allegations of sexual misconduct. Following further investigation, Berthusen was charged with one additional count each of Indecent Behavior with a Juvenile and Sexual Battery.

In all, Berthusen is now charged six counts of Sexual Battery, four counts of Indecent Behavior with Juveniles, and one count of Molestation of a Juvenile. His bail is now set at $705,000.

The investigation into Berthusen is continuing. Due to the nature of the crimes and investigation, detectives believe there may be additional victims. Any other victims are encouraged to contact Lieutenant Sean Scott of the Lafourche Parish Sheriff’s Office Criminal Investigations Division at (985) 532-4334.

Gregory Berthusen
Gregory Berthusen

Sheriff Webre Offers Consumer Safety Tips for the 2019 Holiday Shopping Season

Lafourche Parish Sheriff Craig Webre is offering safety tips for consumers to protect themselves while shopping at stores and online. Retail outlets are advertising significant price cuts and other deals this week in an effort to lure customers. Unfortunately, these deals and the increased number of shoppers tend to lure criminals as well.

“Deputies are conducting extra patrols around shopping centers and stores to keep consumers safe, but there are ways you can protect yourself and minimize your risk of becoming a victim,” said Sheriff Webre.

  • PARKING: Park your vehicle in a well-lit area away from large objects. Lock your vehicle. Never leave keys in the vehicle or leave it running unattended. Hide all purchases in the trunk or use blankets to conceal them.
  • PAYMENT: Using a credit card is the safest method of payment. Only keep cash on you in the amount necessary. If you need to enter a PIN, shield the keypad from bystanders. Save the most expensive purchases for last so they are in your vehicle only for a short time.
  • RETURNING TO VEHICLE: Stay off your phone to avoid distractions. Locate your keys before leaving the store. Check the backseat before entering your vehicle. Upon entering, lock your doors immediately. Change parking locations each time you return to your vehicle.

Con artists may try to distract you to steal your money or belongings. Be wary of anyone approaching you needing “quick cash” or offering you a large check for a smaller amount of cash. Consider shopping with a partner since criminals are more likely to target someone shopping alone. If possible, avoid bringing children shopping as they can hinder your safety by diverting your attention.

Here are a few tips for online shoppers:

  • Look for the “secure” icon in the address bar, or check that the website address begins with “https.”
  • Avoid phishing scams by typing the address of the website instead of clicking a link.
  • Only shop with companies you know and trust.
  • Avoid public Wi-Fi when shopping from a mobile device.
  • Ensure packages will be delivered to a person at a home or office, or opt to pick up the package at a store.

Once your purchases have made it to your home, follow these precautions:

  • Always keep your doors and windows locked.
  • Keep blinds or curtains closed to ensure merchandise and gifts are not visible from outside.
  • Break down large boxes for high-value items instead of placing them near the roadside.
  • Place all trash in black or dark-colored garbage bags.
  • Avoid any social media posts indicating you are not home.

If your family is vacationing during the holidays for an extended period of time, ask a trusted friend or neighbor to check on your house daily. Have them pick up any mail and newspapers to avoid the appearance that no one is home.

All shoppers should save receipts and order confirmations as these are key in tracking down stolen property. If your credit card is lost, stolen, or misused, immediately notify your credit card issuer. If you know your card to have been stolen or if fraudulent charges appear on your account, you should also contact the Sheriff’s Office to file a complaint. If possible, consumers are encouraged to always monitor online banking records for fraudulent activity, especially during the holiday season.

Citizens are also advised to be wary of phone scams, especially for fake charities, which tend to occur during the holiday season. Always attempt to verify a charity by researching online, and NEVER give personal or financial information over the phone to an incoming caller.

For more useful safety information, go to our website at www.LPSO.net.

Sheriff Webre Clarifies Mail-in Process for Property Tax Payment Details

Sheriff Craig Webre is offering the public further clarification regarding the process for mailing in property tax payments. Property taxes are due by December 31, 2019, and unpaid taxes become delinquent on January 1, 2020.

“We have received several calls regarding the out-of-state mailing address for full payments of property tax payments,” said Sheriff Webre. “We want to reassure people that the address is correct because we are using a service provider to assist us in processing payments.”

Beginning in 2018, tax notices sent to property owners included the option of mailing in payments to Lafourche Parish Sheriff’s Office, P.O. Box 679538, Dallas, TX 75267-9538 due to using a third-party service provider to process tax payments. Commonly referred to as a “lockbox” service, this off-site location is used to process payments through a financial institution. This process speeds up the processing time for payments to 1-2 days upon receipt compared to the previous time frame of 7-10 days. It also allows the Sheriff’s Office to disperse tax dollars to local government entities in a more timely manner.  In addition, we are able to reduce staffing and overtime during the tax collection process, resulting in a cost savings to taxpayers.

For convenience, property owners are encouraged to use the envelope provided to mail in payments.

While full payments are processed through the lockbox service, all partial payments are handled directly by the Lafourche Parish Sheriff’s Office. Therefore, for those who are unable to pay in full by December 31, 2019, partial payments should be sent to P.O. Box 5608, Thibodaux, LA 70302. Partial payments can also be made at our Administrative Office (200 Canal Boulevard, Thibodaux) and at the South Lafourche Sub-station (102 West 91st Street, Cut Off). Each partial payment must be at least 25% of the total amount of property tax due, and the first partial payment must be made prior to December 31, 2019.

Payments in full can also be made online at www.LPSO.net/PayMyTaxes. Full payments via cash, credit card, debit card, check, or money order can also be made at the aforementioned Sheriff’s Office locations. A surcharge will apply for all card payments. Customers of First American Bank, South Lafourche Bank, State Bank & Trust, United Community Bank, and Hancock Whitney Bank may pay taxes at any Lafourche Parish branch through December 31, 2019.

For more information about tax payments, including details on penalties, visit www.LPSO.net/PayMyTaxes or call the Lafourche Parish Sheriff’s Office at (985) 449-4431.

Questions regarding property ownership and assessment should be directed to the Lafourche Parish Assessor’s Office at (985) 447-7242.

Registered Sex Offender Charged for Sending Lewd Messages to Teenage Girl

Lafourche Parish Sheriff Craig Webre announced the arrest of a registered sex offender after investigators found he had sent lewd messages to a juvenile female. Roland Bruce Jr., 40, of Cut Off is charged with Indecent Behavior with a Juvenile.

At around 5:15 p.m. on November 23, 2019, deputies responded to a complaint involving a juvenile at a Larose residence. Upon arrival, deputies learned Roland Bruce Jr. had reportedly been sending text messages which were sexual in nature to a minor teenage girl. Bruce had also requested the girl send nude photos to him, but she did not comply.

Following an investigation, deputies contacted Bruce at his Cut Off residence and placed him under arrest. He was charged with one count of Indecent Behavior with a Juvenile and booked into the Lafourche Parish Correctional Complex in Thibodaux. His bail is set at $75,000.

Bruce was forced to register as a sex offender following his October 2001 conviction for Carnal Knowledge of a Juvenile.

Roland Bruce Jr
Roland Bruce Jr

Final Reminder: Accreditation Assessment Team Invites Public Comment

Sheriff Craig Webre is once again reminding residents that a site-based assessment team from the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies, Inc. (CALEA®) will arrive Monday, December 2, 2019, to examine all aspects of the Lafourche Parish Sheriff’s Office policy and procedures, management, operations, and support services.

“Verification by this team that the Lafourche Parish Sheriff’s Office meets the Commission’s state-of-the-art standards is part of a voluntary process to gain accreditation – a highly prized recognition of public safety professional excellence,” Sheriff Webre said.

As the Sheriff’s Office seeks reaccreditation under the Law Enforcement program, this review will also include a review of its Communications and Training Academy sections in efforts to achieve separate accreditation under CALEA. As part of the assessment, agency personnel and members of the community are invited to offer comments at a public information session at 6 p.m. on Tuesday, December 3, 2019. The session will be conducted at the Main Courthouse in the Division “A” courtroom at 201 Green Street in Thibodaux, Louisiana.

If for some reason an individual cannot speak at the public information session but would still like to provide comments to the assessment teams, he/she may do so by telephone. The public may call (985) 449-4421 between the hours of 3 p.m. and 5 p.m. on Tuesday, December 3, 2019. Comments will be taken by the Law Enforcement Assessment Team. As part of the process for Public Safety Communications accreditation, the public and employees are invited to call (985) 387-4410 between the hours of 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. on Tuesday, December 3, 2019. As part of the process for Training Academy accreditation, the public and employees are invited to call (985) 387-4410 between the hours of 3 p.m. and 5 p.m. on Tuesday, December 3, 2019.

Telephone comments as well as appearances at the public information session are limited to 10 minutes and must address the agency’s ability to comply with CALEA Standards. A copy of the standards is available at the Community Security Section Office at 200 Patriot Street in Thibodaux, Louisiana. The contact person is Deputy Lesley Hill at (985) 242-5526.

Persons wishing to offer written comments about the Lafourche Parish Sheriff’s Office’s ability to meet the standards for accreditation are requested to write: Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies, Inc. (CALEA®), 13575 Heathcote Boulevard, Suite 320, Gainesville, Virginia 20155.

The Lafourche Parish Sheriff’s Office must comply with nearly 600 standards in order to maintain the accredited status of the entire agency and achieve accredited status for Training and Communications, Sheriff Webre said. “We have maintained accredited status for nearly 20 years and the community has seen the benefits firsthand in the professional way the men and women of this agency serve the public,” Sheriff Webre added.

Accreditation is for four years, during which the agency must submit annual reports and participate in annual remote web-based assessments attesting continued compliance with those standards under which it was initially accredited.

For more information regarding CALEA®, please write the Commission at 13575 Heathcote Boulevard, Suite 320, Gainesville, Virginia 20155 or call (703) 352-4225 or email

Free Hunter Education Field Day Slated for December 11, 2019

The Lafourche Parish Sheriff’s Office will host a FREE Hunter Education Field Day on Wednesday, December 11, 2019, for anyone ages 10 or older who has completed the home study course. The class will take place from 4 p.m. to 9 p.m. at the LPSO Shooting Range located at 3451 Highway 182 in Raceland.

As an alternative to the traditional two-day classroom course, a Home Study Course is available online through the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries website. Those who complete the home study course MUST take their completion voucher to a “Field Day” to complete their hunter education. Entry to the Field Day will be denied unless the completed forms are presented. There will be a written test required to complete the Field Day. Class size is limited. Advance registration is required. CLICK HERE to register for the Field Day.

Firearms and ammunition should NOT be brought to this course, but snacks are permitted. For more information, or for assistance with online registration, call the LPSO Training Academy at (985) 387-4480 weekdays from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., or email Lieutenant Nolan Smith at nolan-smith@lpso.net.

*Anyone born after September 1, 1969, who wishes to obtain a hunting license in Louisiana, must successfully complete a hunter education course. Exceptions may be granted by the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries for active or veteran members of the United States armed services, for any P.O.S.T.-certified law enforcement officer, or for persons who are under the direct supervision of a person 18-years or older who is already licensed and has taken the approved course. Exceptions must be applied for and approved by the Department of Wildlife and Fisheries.

Sheriff Webre Announces Plans for “Click It or Ticket” Campaign

Sheriff Craig Webre announced the Lafourche Parish Sheriff’s Office will join other local law enforcement agencies in participating in the Click-It or Ticket campaign which runs from November 25 through December 1, 2019. The campaign is coordinated and funded by the Louisiana Highway Safety Commission and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Additional deputies will be assigned to saturated patrol efforts, and there will be two checkpoints held in conjunction with the campaign. In a cooperative effort with the Thibodaux Police Department, two seat belt checkpoints will be conducted on Wednesday, November 27, 2019, in Lafourche Parish. During the seat belt checkpoints, deputies will be checking motorists for seat belt and safety seat violations, as well as other violations such as expired inspection tags.

“Click It or Ticket” is a seat belt enforcement campaign aimed at increasing the national seat belt usage rate. In 2018, observational surveys showed 13.1 percent of Louisiana drivers and passengers were not wearing seat belts.

Sheriff Craig Webre asks for patience and cooperation when passing through these checkpoints and for recognizing the importance of raising awareness for safety issues.