'Test Drive Bandit' faces 4 counts of auto theft

Shane Richey (Source: Ascension Parish Sheriff's Office)
Shane Richey (Source: Ascension Parish Sheriff's Office)

GEISMAR, LA (WAFB) - A convicted con man is behind bars on multiple felony counts of auto theft and it was the quick thinking of one of his victims that helped police make the arrest.

Jake Joffrion held a bottle of champagne Monday night he said Shane Richey gave him over the weekend.

"Smooth as ice and twice as nice, that's what this guy was," said Joffrion.

Joffrion added Richey contacted him about his car for sale and after conducting his own background check and getting the keys to Richey's vehicle, he allowed him to take it for a test drive.

"He would leave his car here with the keys in case it needed to be moved, so I got a picture of his license, checked him on Facebook to make sure he was legit. He looked legit, everything went fine and the guy never showed back up with my car," Joffrion explained.

Joffrion immediately called the Ascension Parish Sheriff's Office and it turns out deputies had filed reports for stolen cars involving Richey. They were from All-Star Ford in Prairieville in October and from Redemption Auto Sales in Gonzales in November.

The big break happened Monday when a teller called Joffrion from a bank in Covington about a man trying to cash a check he had reported stolen inside his car. Joffrion said he told the teller to call police and according to the St. Tammany Parish Sheriff's Office, a brief high-speed chase resulted in deputies using spike strips to disable Joffrion's stolen car and arrest Richey.

"What we'll do is put a hold on him in St. Tammany, so St. Tammany has him for their charges and he'll be a fugitive from Ascension Parish and I think he'll probably be a fugitive from other parishes also," said Lt. Col. Bobby Webre of the Ascension Parish Sheriff's Office.

Investigators said Richey's extensive criminal history played a big role in these auto thefts and added it's the main reason he was able to convince individual sellers and dealers alike he could be trusted.

"He was dressed nice, came up shook your hand, looked you in the eye. He brought gifts, just different stuff like that. He knew exactly what to do and exactly how to treat people to get what he wanted," said Joffrion.

"I guess dealerships have their certain policies on allowing people to test drive cars, but somehow he was able to convince those dealerships to let him test drive the car, but just never brought them back," Webre added.

Richey now faces three felonies in Ascension Parish alone and the car left at Joffrion's house is tied to another theft in Livingston Parish. The brash crime spree was snuffed out with help from Joffrion, who did all he could to avoid being just another victim.

"There's probably a lot of people sleeping better tonight knowing this guy is behind bars and that makes me feel good and I'm happy to that any time," said Joffrion.

Richey faces charges of possesion of stolen property, forgery and aggravated flight in St. Tammany Parish.

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