Fuel theft investigation widens
GONZALES - Authorities said they're investigating if more people helped a former parish worker to steal thousands of dollars worth of fuel from Ascension Parish.
Corey Richard, a former parish maintenance worker, is in jail and accused of stealing nearly $7,000 worth of fuel. Investigators believe Richard was using other people's fuel cards to steal gas at the parish bulk fuel site and gas stations around town.
All of this came to light after an unusually large amount of fuel turned up missing.
"We noticed there was quite a spike in the use of gas last month and started seeing this was a common occurrence," Ascension Parish President Tommy Martinez said.
Richard was employed by the parish for about three years. Investigators aren't sure what he did with all of that fuel, but he used nearly 2,200 gallons in June alone, according to Martinez. In a surprise twist, the person who was supposed to be monitoring this quit when he was questioned by investigators.
Linc LeBlanc was shocked to learn of Richard's arrest.
"I'm very disappointed to see that," Linc LeBlanc said. "Im sure his family is disappointed too, and I feel bad for the family."
As the investigation continues, Martinez isn't ruling out that more of his parish employees could be involved.
"It's very disappointing, but unfortunately this is taxpayer money and we certainly can't tolerate it," Martinez said.
The parish is ordering new gas cards without PIN numbers in an attempt to prevent future thefts.