BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - EBRSO deputies are looking for a man dressed as a woman wanted in connection with the theft of Livingston Parish Sheriff Jason Ard's personal truck. It was stolen Friday night from Ruffino's Restaurant on Highland Road, EBRSO spokeswoman Casey Rayborn Hicks said. Investigators believe the suspect(s) manipulated the keypad on the door sometime between 7:50 pm and 9:40 pm.
The Ford F-250 was recovered around 11:30 Friday night about a mile away in a parking lot on Barringer Court, Hicks said. A gun hidden in the truck and a purse with wallet containing credit cards was missing.
Ard confirmed the gun stolen was his duty-issued weapon.
Around 4:45 am a person tried to use a debit card taken from the truck at the Circle K on Evangeline St., Hicks said. The store employee told deputies it appeared to be a man wearing women's clothing. Video surveillance shows the person has long hair and appeared to be wearing a bluish color dress. Cameras also show the person in a red or maroon Honda 2-door sports coupe.
Anyone with information concerning the theft or suspect(s) is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 344-STOP or EBRSO at 389-5000. You can remain anonymous and a cash reward is being offered.
Sheriff Ard released a statement on his Facebook page later Saturday:
"By now, many of you have heard about an incident involving me and my family.
Last night, while we were enjoying time together at Ruffino's in Baton Rouge...we were the victims of a crime.
My personal truck was broken into and some personal items were taken.
These items were locked and hidden inside my vehicle.
Unfortunately, one of the items locked & hidden inside - were keys.
Because of keyless entry - a luxury many of us rely on a little too heavily - I felt comfortable leaving my keys behind.
Let this be a 'lesson learned' to all who drive vehicles with this feature...and have the same habit.
Criminals don't discriminate.
Even though I wear a 'Sheriff's Hat', I'm now a victim.
But the bigger victim of this crime...is my wife.
Erica is an amazing woman who holds our family together.
During this crime, her personal belongings - containing a lot of our information - were stolen.
We have spent most of today trying to correct that.
We will recover from this.
We appreciate the support of those of you have already reached out to us.
We appreciate the swift action of the East Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff's Office and law enforcement personnel from surrounding agencies.
I've spent most of my adult life helping victims.
Through this experience, I was able to witness the care and compassion of those who do what I do.
I was really impressed with how my case was handled.
I was treated with the utmost respect...and it's not because of who I am, it's because of who these dedicated professionals are.
I'd also like to say 'thank you' to the staff at Ruffino's. They were very helpful and supportive.
Take it from me, don't ever let your guard down.
Learn from my mistakes.
I'd rather it be me than you.
It doesn't matter who you are or where you are - anyone can be a victim."