The Ville Platte and Mamou police department’s and the Evangeline Parish Sheriff’s Office, in a joint effort, arrested one individual who allegedly stole a vehicle from a local dealership in the 300 block of Main Street Thursday, July 3.
According to Sgt. Joseph “Plywood” Fontenot, the Ville Platte Police Department received a report of vehicle damage in a fenced-in area of the dealership. The person making the complaint stated it appeared a concrete block was used to smash the front passenger window of a vehicle. Officer Chateuse Richard was the first to arrive on the scene, followed by Fontenot. Fontenot said while Richard began writing a report on the incident, an anonymous caller stated Samuel Fontenot, 20, Parkview Apt. 20, Ville Platte, was seen driving what appeared to be a new vehicle with the dealership’s logo on it in the Kennedy Subdivision. The police department also received a second call reporting Samuel Fontenot was driving toward the Mamou area.
“Everybody knows he (Samuel Fontenot) shouldn’t be driving,” Lt. John B. “Chip” Matte added.
Fontenot said the dealership reviewed its inventory and discovered a 2008 Dodge Avenger was missing. The Mamou Police Department and the Evangeline Parish Sheriff’s Office were quickly notified and given all available information.
According to Mamou Detective Todd Ortis, officers in Mamou took up surveillance positions and were able to locate the vehicle shortly thereafter. Ortis said Samuel Fontenot refused to stop the vehicle and a brief pursuit followed. However, the pursuit ended after the suspect turned onto a dead-end road. Two officers were on the scene and they ordered Samuel Fontenot to exit the vehicle, but Ortis said he still refused to comply.
“At this time, a taser device was used to remove him from the vehicle,” Ortis stated.
Ortis added Ville Platte Police and Sheriff’s deputies also arrived on the scene. Samuel Fontenot was transported to the Evangeline Parish Jail by Ville Platte Police and charged with simple burglary, theft over $500, two counts of criminal damage to property over $500, no driver’s license and remaining after being forbidden. Sgt. Fontenot stated the charge of remaining after being forbidden stemmed from an incident where Samuel Fontenot was warned to stay away from the dealership.
The Evangeline Parish Sheriff’s Office’s Capt. Keith Dupre, chief of detectives, said an ongoing investigation may bring more charges against Samuel Fontenot. Dupre stated several gas cans were found in the suspect’s possession that may have been stolen from the Vidrine area in a separate incident. That investigation, which is being conducted by Detective Danon Maricle, is still underway.
On behalf of Police Chief Neal Lartigue, Sgt. Fontenot thanked the agencies for their teamwork. He said by working together, the suspect was in police custody 30 minutes after the call was made to the department. He thanked Mamou and the sheriff’s office, as well as those who contacted the department to share information with them.
Lartigue said the public’s involvement in the community in this fashion helps the department in its duties. He encouraged residents to report all illegal activities to law enforcement.