Former Plaquemines Animal Welfare Shelter Director arrested for theft

Denise McCoy Manger, 40
Denise McCoy Manger, 40

Belle Chasse, La. - Plaquemines Parish Deputies have arrested a woman for stealing cash from the Plaquemines Parish Animal Welfare Society's safe haven. Denise McCoy Manger, 40, of Belle Chasse was taken into custody and charged with theft.

According to police, board members with the Plaquemines Animal Welfare Society or PAWS contacted the Criminal Investigations Bureau of the Plaquemines Parish Sheriff's Department to investigate an internal theft from the non-profit organization. Investigators learned that since January 1, 2013, $22,705 has been stolen.

Detectives revealed that the McCoy, who was the PAWS Shelter Director at the time, was the only person who would have access to the money. Investigators searched through computer records and uncovered cash deposits made by Manger that did not match submitted records.

Plaquemines Sheriff's Deputies and PAWS Board Members decided to conduct an undercover investigation.

Undercover officers adopted two dogs from the shelter and paid $260 in previously recorded money. The money was placed into safekeeping so it could be later deposited by the shelter director. Surveillance footage captured Manger entering the shelter after hours and taking some of the money from safekeeping. Manger then drove to a Belle Chasse store to purchase merchandise.

At a later date when Manger submitted the cash proceeds to the board members, it was discovered that the deposit was short $575 and did not include any of the previously recorded money used by the undercover Plaquemines Deputies. While confronted by the board members, Manger admitted to taking the money.

While being interviewed by detectives, Manger said that she took the money to support her prescription drug addiction. Manger was arrested and charged with theft over $1,500. She is currently being held without bond in Belle Chasse Lockup. Investigators believe that Manger acted alone.

Ms. Chris Beebe, the current President of PAWS, has provided the following statement: "Our primary concern is the safety and welfare of the dogs and cats at PAWS. As soon as we became aware of a discrepancy, we contacted the Plaquemines Sheriff's Office and are cooperating fully with the investigation. PAWS still needs the support of friends, volunteers, and the community, during this difficult time to continue our mission to rescue, shelter, and adopt healthy dogs and cats."