WASHINGTON PARISH, LA (WAFB) - Two men have been arrested for their alleged involvement in a scheme to defraud an auto insurance company.
The Washington Parish Sheriff's Office reports that on September 19, they received a report about a vehicle fire off Westmoreland Road in the western part of the parish. Deputies were able to find the remains of a burned Porsche on a remote hunting road. Officials say the vehicle had been placed on concrete blocks and the wheels had been removed prior to the vehicle being burned.
Officials say the license plate of the burned Porsche was still readable, and a pair of pliers was found at the scene which had a last name written on the handle.
The investigation led to the arrest of two men, one from Tangipahoa Parish and one from Pearl River County, Mississippi. An arrest warrant has also been issued for a third suspect.
Gary Joseph LeBlanc, 49, of Robert, and Wesley Herndon, 28, of Pearl River County, were both arrested. The warrant was issued for Neil Kelly, a resident of the Folsom area.
Officials say LeBlanc, the owner of the 2006 Porsche, approached two of his employees and offered to pay them if they would take his car so it would appear stolen and burn it so he could collect the full value of the vehicle from his insurance company. Officials say LeBlanc was frustrated because the car had water damage and he was having difficulty selling it. The two employees agreed to participate in the scheme and reportedly took the Porsche from LeBlanc's business in Hammond, drove it to a rural part of Washington Parish, and burned it.
Detectives discovered that Herndon was advertising the Porsche tires and wheels for sale on Facebook. Detectives were also able to determine that the insurance claim made by LeBlanc was never paid out by the insurance company.
Herndon was arrested on October 26 and was released the same day after posting a $5,000 bond. He is charged with simple arson.
LeBlanc was arrested on November 8 and was released the same day after posting a $10,000 bond. He is charged with arson with intent to defraud.
"First of all, Sgt. Randy Reviere did an excellent job collecting evidence on the scene. That evidence was instrumental in helping to solve this crime. Next, Detective Kody Glenn also did an excellent job in investigating this crime, identifying the guilty parties, and making the arrests. My hat is off to both of these fine officers. It is wrong for any criminals to think they can commit a crime in Washington Parish and get away with it. Our resources may not be as deep as some larger law enforcement agencies, but our officers are professional and thorough in all that they do and always work hard to solve any crime in our parish. It is a blessing for me to be able to work with the fine, dedicated men and women who wear the Washington Parish badge," said Sheriff Randy Seal.