Man arrested after allegedly caught in the act stealing catalytic converters

Published: Sep. 29, 2021 at 1:34 PM CDT
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Jennings, LA (KPLC) - A man allegedly caught attempting to steal catalytic converters off of vehicles on Gallup Street was restrained by citizens until police arrived, Jennings authorities say.

“We’ve been having a rash of catalytic converter thefts in the city,” said Jennings Police Chief Danny Semmes. “We had seven in one day in one location.”

When officers responding to the Sept. 27 incident arrived, they detained Fredrick “T-Butch” Fontenot, according to information from the Jennings Police Department. Complainants told police that Fontenot was attempting to steal a catalytic converter off a vehicle, Jennings police said.

“The complainant that called in said they had grabbed him, threw him on the ground, sat on him and held him down,” Semmes said.

A reciprocating saw and wrenches commonly used in catalytic converter thefts were found in Fontenot’s possession, according to Jennings police.

Jennings police also said a used syringe was found in his pocket and methamphetamine was found in a cigarette pack.

Fontenot was arrested but later released on a summons due to lack of bed space at the Jeff Davis Parish Jail, according to Jennings police. The Jeff Davis Parish Sheriff’s Office says they are following both CDC and DOC guidelines as to how they process new inmates. They say only 10 isolation cells are available at the recently renovated jail for new inmates to quarantine for 10 days. Chief Semmes says it’s already resulted in more than 400 outstanding warrants to be served and posing challenges when arresting repeat offenders.

“I’d like to see anyone who commits a felony-related crime go to jail,” Chief Semmes said. “The recidivism rate is going to go through the roof when these people get word that there’s no place to put them. We need to do something because with this taking place, the crime rate is going to go up, and we are dealing with the same people over and over again.”

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