Baton Rouge, Louisiana
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Disgraced deputy promises to turn himself in after parking lot run-in with Nakamoto

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BATON ROUGE- Less than 30 minutes after the WBRZ Investigative Unit aired a report about a disgraced former West Baton Rouge deputy who was arrested for malfeasance and now faces a theft charge, Chief Investigator Chris Nakamoto ran into him on his way home Thursday night at a store.

Nakamoto grabbed his phone and immediately began documenting the conversation with Michael Lafayette. The initial story that aired Thursday night showed Lafayette was filmed on a doctor's surveillance camera in New Orleans taking prayer figurines. The New Orleans Police Department immediately issued a warrant for Lafayette's arrest.

Dr. Kam Zaheri told WBRZ this week that he sold a pool table to Lafayette. During that sale, Zaheri recalled Lafayette being interested in sentimental prayer statues that were inside his house.

"Sadly, this guy is a con artist," Zaheri said.  "He came in presenting himself as a church-going guy and for him to just violate us if you will and walk out...it's sad."

When Lafayette left, the statues were gone and a check of the surveillance cameras showed Lafayette clutching the figurines as he walked out. Zaheri's wife even confronted Lafayette while he was leaving and that's when the cameras showed he shoved her.

Zaheri said he offered to not call police if Lafayette returned the statues. When that didn't happen, a police report was filed.

"I didn't take no statues," Lafayette told Nakamoto in the parking lot of a Baton Rouge store Thursday night less than an hour after the news story aired on television.

When pressed why the surveillance video showed him clutching the statues and how they ended up in his hands, Lafayette came up with a shaky explanation.

"Because I bought a lot of things from him," Lafayette said.

Nakamoto informed Lafayette that there was an active arrest warrant issued for him. Lafayette said he planned to turn himself in Friday and denied a more formal request for an interview because he was planning to go to New Orleans.

Lafayette was terminated from the West Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff's Office in December. According to investigators, he drove a prisoner to a motel to have sex with a sheriff's deputy. He was fired and charged with a felony, malfeasance in office.

"I'm maintaining my innocence," Lafayette said referring to both allegations.

Lafayette is due back in court in April on the malfeasance charge. According to NOPD as of Friday afternoon, Lafayette had not turned himself in.


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