Two area arrests made for theft of 47 cars

Published 12:00 am Monday, April 24, 2006


Staff Reporter

LAPLACE – Two River Parish residents have been arrested on charges of insurance fraud, according to the Louisiana State Police Insurance Fraud Unit.

Troopers believe Carey Watis, 42, of 9466 Hwy 44 in Convent, was using an unregistered tow truck to remove flooded vehicles from the devastated New Orleans area until he was arrested by State Police on April 10.

The State Police were alerted to Watis’ actions through a tip from a concerned citizen, according to Sgt. Stacey Pearson of the Louisiana State Police Insurance Fraud Unit.

&#8220We’ve heard rumors about things like this happening but this is the first arrest we’ve made of this kind,” Pearson said.

Surveillance was conducted on Watis, which led to the identification of two stolen vehicles in his possession. He told troopers he was receiving approximately $75 a ton, or $150 per vehicle, for crushing and selling them for scrap. Troopers discovered an additional 45 allegedly stolen vehicles on Watis’ property.

Pearson noted the arrest is a positive factor in deterring other would-be criminals who are taking advantage of other people’s belongings nearly a year after Hurricane Katrina, especially since a tip within the community helped lead to the arrest.

Watis was arrested April 10 and has been placed on $99,000 bond by 23rd Judicial Court Judge Alvin Turner. If convicted, he could face up to 10 years in prison and a $3,000 fine on each count of felony theft.

Everett Alleman Jr., 58, of Destrehan, was also arrested last week after Troopers learned that he had attempted to defraud his insurance company by allegedly filing phony claims.

Alleman was reported to have claimed numerous items of electronic equipment, a flat screen television and several rifles were stolen from his

vehicle after he abandoned it in a parking lot in Baton Rouge.

Troopers learned that Alleman created fictitious receipts for the items that he never owned and submitted them to his insurer to add legitimacy to his claim.

Alleman was arrested and booked April 12 and was released on his own recognance by Judge Emile St. Pierre of the 29th Judicial District Court.

If convicted, Alleman could face up to five years in prison or a $5,000 fine on each count of insurance fraud.