Lafourche Parish Sheriff Craig Webre and Lafourche Parish Schools Superintendent Jo Ann Matthews announced three students were charged in separate incidents at Lafourche Parish high schools in the last two weeks.
Earlier this month, deputies opened an investigation after learning a large number of computers had been damaged at Central Lafourche High School over the course of nearly two months. The total damages amounted to around $5,000. Through investigation, deputies learned two male students had inserted metal objects into USB ports on the computers to intentionally damage them. Both students admitted to damaging 10 computers each, and they were charged with Simple Criminal Damage to Property.
In a separate incident, a fire alarm sounded at around 11:45 a.m. on Thursday, March 26 at South Lafourche High School forcing a complete evacuation of the school. Through investigation, officials determined no fire was present and that a male student had falsely sounded the alarm. The juvenile was charged with Criminal Mischief in the incident.
“Students need to understand there are serious consequences for criminal behavior at school,” said Sheriff Webre. “Not only is taxpayer money being wasted in cases such as these, but in the case of a false fire alarm, emergency services rush to scene resulting in these responders being tied up if a real emergency occurs elsewhere.”
“Destroying school property and activating false alarms should not be considered pranks or jokes,” added Sheriff Webre. “These are crimes, and violators will face criminal charges.”
In addition to criminal charges, students would also face disciplinary action from school officials.
“We will consider the circumstances of each instance, but we have expelled students in the past for sounding a false alarm, for example,” said Superintendent Matthews. “We have zero tolerance for this sort of mischievous behavior which creates panic and wastes valuable resources.”
Sheriff Webre and Superintendent Matthews urge parents to talk with their children to help them understand the serious consequences of criminal behavior, especially at school. Parents should especially ensure children know that sounding a false fire alarm is not a joke, and could result in criminal charges and expulsion.
Sheriff Craig Webre announced the Lafourche Parish Sheriff's Office will conduct a seat belt checkpoint in Lafourche Parish during the daylight hours of Wednesday, April 1. Deputies will be checking motorists for seat belt and safety seat violations, as well as other violations such as expired inspection tags. This checkpoint is part of the Lafourche Parish Sheriff's Office's year-long campaign designed to raise awareness for these types of violations and make the highways of the parish safer for all motorists.
Lafourche Parish Sheriff Craig Webre and St. James Parish Sheriff Willy Martin Jr. reported a boating crash near the Lafourche-St. James Parish line claimed the life of a man and woman from Vacherie. Deputies located the bodies of 38-year-old Shawn Cortez (W/M) and his wife, 48-year-old Cheryl Cortez (W/F), on Friday.
Early Friday morning, deputies with the St. James Parish Sheriff’s Office responded to a call that a boat carrying two people had crashed into a tree in Bayou Chevreuil just off LA Highway 20 near the Lafourche-St. James Parish Line. Deputies discovered a woman, later identified as Cheryl Cortez, deceased aboard the vessel. Deputies then began searching for Shawn Cortez who deputies believe was also aboard the boat when it crashed. Personnel from the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, Lafourche Parish Government Office of Emergency Preparedness, and divers from the Killian Police Department, as well as divers, K-9 units and Water Patrol from the Lafourche Parish Sheriff’s Office arrived at the scene to assist the St. James Parish Sheriff’s Office in the search. Following a search that lasted over 10 hours, Shawn Cortez’s body was located in Bayou Chevreuil at around 6 p.m. on Friday.
The investigation into the crash is being conducted by the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries.
Sheriff Webre and Sheriff Martin remind citizens to call 911 or your local Sheriff’s Office immediately if someone you know is late returning from a trip on the water. Boaters should always let a relative or friend know the areas they plan to fish in case something unexpected happens. The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries offers boating safety classes and online courses. Visit their website at www.wlf.louisiana.gov/boating/courses for more information.
Lafourche Parish Sheriff Craig Webre announced a Raceland man was arrested after he threatened an elderly woman to obtain money. David Bland (44, B/M) was arrested on Wednesday following an investigation into the incident.
Last week, deputies began an investigation after learning Bland had extorted money from an elderly Raceland woman. Through investigation, deputies learned Bland initially made contact with the woman on Saturday, March 14, stating that he was sent to the residence to collect a debt owed by a family member. Deputies learned Bland allegedly threatened the woman and her family with bodily harm if the debt was not paid. Deputies learned the woman provided cash to Bland who then returned on multiple occasions asking for more money. Following the investigation, deputies obtained a warrant for Bland’s arrest.
On Wednesday, March 25, patrol deputies traveling in the area of Williams Street in Raceland recognized Bland walking along the street. They made contact with Bland and took him into custody without incident. He was transported to the Lafourche Parish Detention Center in Thibodaux where he is being held in lieu of $20,000 bond as set by Judge Steven M. Miller.
Bland was out on bond after having been arrested two weeks prior on Friday, March 13. In that instance, he had been charged with Theft and Entering after Being Forbidden after he stole steaks and other items from a Raceland grocery store from which he was banned due to a previous theft in 2014. Bland has an extensive criminal history dating back to the early 1990s. His prior arrests in Lafourche Parish were for charges including assault, battery, and multiple instances of theft.
“Extortion is a serious crime, but the fact that the victim was an elderly female makes this even more despicable,” said Sheriff Webre. “Our elderly citizens tend to be trusting, good-natured, and easy-going. Unfortunately, those same great qualities also make them targets for criminals. We want our elderly citizens to rest assured, though, that we will aggressively pursue anyone who commits these types of offenses against them.”
Lafourche Parish Sheriff Craig Webre announced a reward is being offered for information leading to the arrest of the person or persons who stole equipment from a local shipyard.
Last month, detectives responded to Bollinger Shipyards on LA Highway 308 in Lockport in reference to stolen equipment. Through investigation, detectives learned a utility trailer and a custom drill press were stolen around the last week of February. The equipment has a combined value of nearly $3,000.
Detectives are asking for your help in solving this case. To submit information anonymously, call Crime Stoppers Bayou Region at 1-800-743-7433 or text “GIVEATIP” plus your message to 274637 (CRIMES). Tips can also be submitted via the TipSubmit Mobile application or online at www.crimestoppersbr.org. A tipster could be eligible for a reward of up to $1,000 in cash if the information given leads to an arrest.
Lafourche Parish Sheriff Craig Webre and Lockport Chief of Police Warren Vedros reported a standoff with a barricaded subject ended peacefully after more than three hours on Wednesday afternoon. At 9:00 a.m., officers responded to a residence in the 400 block of Lafourche Street in Lockport after learning a male subject was at the residence with a firearm and possibly contemplating suicide. Officers attempted to make contact with the man, but he refused to exit the residence. At that time, the Lafourche Parish Interagency Crisis Management Unit was then called to the scene. The standoff ended peacefully at around 12:45 p.m. when negotiators convinced the man to exit the residence unarmed. He was then transported to a local hospital for evaluation.
Several residential streets were blocked off during the incident. Sheriff Webre and Chief Vedros thank the residents of Lockport for their cooperation. They also thank the members of the Lockport Volunteer Fire Department who responded to the scene to provide a cooling station for members of the Crisis Management Unit.
Lafourche Parish Sheriff Craig Webre says detectives are investigating reckless driving which has led to damage at a parish boat launch, and he is issuing a stern warning that all violators will be pursued.
“These irresponsible criminals are causing the parish to spend more and more tax dollars on repairs after each occurrence,” said Sheriff Webre. “We want these suspects and anyone even thinking of exhibiting this type of behavior in the future to know we are watching and will vigorously pursue all violators to ensure they are held liable for the damages.”
Over the past month, detectives have investigated multiple instances of reckless driving at the Sanchez Boat Launch, a public boat launch located at 829 Sanchez Road in Thibodaux (Choctaw area). The reckless driving resulted in property damage at the boat launch. Security cameras at the launch captured images of three pickup trucks which detectives believe are responsible for the damage.
Anyone who has information on any of the three trucks caught on camera is asked to contact detectives of the Lafourche Parish Sheriff’s Office directly at (985) 532-4326 or via the contact form at www.lpso.net/contact. Information can also be submitted anonymously through Crime Stoppers Bayou Region at 1-800-743-7433 or online at www.crimestoppersbr.org.
In 2014, multiple people were charged after several instances occurred over three months beginning around April. Anyone caught engaging in this sort of activity could be charged with Reckless Operation of a Vehicle and could face additional charges such as Simple Criminal Damage to Property if the reckless operation leads to property damage. In that case, the violator could be held financially liable for the damages.