St. Charles sheriff sets record straight about false e-mail

Published 12:00 am Monday, November 24, 2008

In an email communication to St. Charles residents, Sheriff Greg Champagne made efforts to clear the air regarding some misinformation circulating throughout the parish about a rash of wallet thefts at a Wal-Mart store in Boutte.

Champagne said that an erroneous email letter asserts that a female loading groceries in the parking lot of the store alerted police after her wallet was allegedly stolen by an unknown or person. It goes on to falsely state that the responding deputy told the victim that it was the eighth wallet to be stolen at the location during the past week. The message further falsely claims that when the victim went to the Drivers License Bureau that the workers there said that this was the 20th time that a duplicate drivers license was being provided to a victim of such a theft in the last two weeks.

Champagne explains that a deputy did in fact respond to the Wal-Mart to handle a complaint of a missing wallet by a female shopper. The victim reported that after shopping at the store, she proceeded to a fast food location in the Boutte area and noticed her wallet missing. She reported to the deputy that she did not know if she had dropped the wallet, misplaced it or whether it had been stolen. She did not see anyone take her wallet nor did she notice anyone suspicious in the parking lot around her.

The Sheriff said that it is possible that the wallet may have been stolen, but as of yet the Sheriff’s Office has no concrete evidence to support that claim. He said the responding deputy indicated that he never told the victim of any other similar thefts at the Wal-Mart location, because there had not been any reports of thefts.

He said the victim in that case had nothing to do with the untrue email communication that has been circulating St. Charles.

In an unrelated incident about three weeks ago, a female did have her purse snatched by a perpetrator in the parking lot while she was getting into her car at night. Champagne said detectives quickly made arrests of the individuals involved in that incident.

“I would continue to urge everyone to be very cautious and vigilant in any public parking lot such as a Wal-Mart, whether in St. Charles Parish or elsewhere,” Champagne said. “I will do my best to be pro-active in alerting citizens to any emerging crime trend or threat. We will also use reserve deputies to patrol store parking lots at regular intervals as the holiday shopping season approaches.”