St. Amant fire official arrested on theft

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) - Ascension Parish deputies have arrested the longtime treasurer of the St. Amant Volunteer Fire Department and his wife on counts of stealing at least $15,000 from the agency.

Aaron Lee Gautreaux, 33 and Melissa Pearson Gautreaux, 34, were arrested Wednesday on single counts of felony theft. Officials say the pair stole money to pay for their cable television bills, car notes and other personal expenses

The arrests follows an inquiry by Fire Chief James LeBlanc and department President Shane Pourciau into possible bank discrepancies.

LeBlanc tells The Advocate that he and Pourciau began looking at accounts after merchants told him the department was months behind in paying its bills, although treasurer's reports distributed at management meetings showed that the department was current on its expenses.

(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)