Recently resigned Turkey Creek Police Chief Robert M. Moreau was arrested by Louisiana State Police on allegations including theft and abuse of office, an official said Friday.
Trooper Stephen Hammons, spokesman for State Police, said Moreau, 43, was arrested Thursday on five felony counts of theft of goods over $500, abuse of office, attempted theft of goods over $500, theft of a firearm and unauthorized use of an access card.
The arrest came one day after Moreau entered guilty pleas to a misdemeanor count of theft under $500 and a felony count of abuse of office, which stemmed from a shoplifting incident Monday at a retail store in Ville Platte, Evangeline Parish District Attorney Trent Brignac said.
The primary condition of Moreau’s suspended sentence was that he resign his position as police chief, a post he had won October 2010 and began serving in January, Brignac said.
“My primary concern was having him convicted of a felony, which prevents him from being in law enforcement ever again,” Brignac said.
Turkey Creek Village Clerk Melissa Ferguson said Moreau resigned Oct. 4.
An Evangeline Parish Sheriff’s deputy is filling in until the village council meets Thursday night to appoint an acting chief, Ferguson said.
An election to fill the position — which serves as the village’s only law-enforcement officer — will be held in March, Ferguson said.
Hammons said Moreau’s arrest by State Police stemmed from information detectives received in September about a theft at a retail store in Lafayette.
An investigation revealed the police chief stole items from a store and then returned the items without a receipt in order to get a gift card, which he then used to purchase guns and ammunition, Hammons said.
“All of this was done while he was wearing his uniform,” Hammons said.
Brignac said surveillance footage in Ville Platte captured Moreau shoplifting in full uniform, too.
Investigators searched Moreau’s home and found 7,500 rounds of ammunition and three handguns, Hammons said.
An affidavit for warrant of arrest lists those guns as being a .40-caliber pistol, a Remington 1911 semi-automatic .45-caliber pistol and a Smith & Wesson revolver.
The affidavit states that Moreau admitted to stealing items from Academy Sports in Alexandria.
He returned the items at a later date to Academy Sports stores in Alexandria and Lafayette, the affidavit says.