Two men booked for torching Porsche for insurance money

Booking photos courtesy Washington Parish Sheriff's Office

WASHINGTON PARISH, La. — A Tangipahoa Parish man and a Mississippi man have been arrested in Washington Parish for reportedly torching a Porsche in an effort to collect insurance money.

According to the Washington Parish Sheriff’s Office, deputies responded Sept. 19 to a report of a vehicle fire off of  Westmoreland Road in the western part of the parish.

Deputies found the remains of a burned Porsche automobile on a remote hunting road.  The vehicle had been placed on concrete blocks and the wheels had been removed prior to the vehicle being burned.

Photo courtesy Washington Parish Sheriff’s Office

A detective at the scene was able to obtain two key pieces of evidence. In addition to the burned vehicle’s license plate, which was still readable, he also discovered a pair of pliers, which had a last name written on one of the handles.  These two pieces of evidence were later used to solve the crime.

Investigators determined that Gary Joseph LeBlanc, the owner of a 2006 Porsche automobile, approached two of his employees and offered to pay them if they would take his car so it would appear to have been stolen, and then burn the vehicle so that he could collect full value from his insurance company.

Photo courtesy Washington Parish Sheriff’s Office

The owner was frustrated because the Porsche had water damage and he was unable to sell it for its assessed worth.  The two men agreed, took the Porsche from the owner’s business in Hammond, drove it to rural Washington Parish and burned it.

Arrested were LeBlanc, 49, a resident of Robert, Louisiana, and Wesley Herndon, 28, a resident of 853 Beach Road in Pearl River County, Mississippi.

A third person is being sought for his involvement in the crime.  A warrant has been issued for the arrest of  Neil Kelly, a resident of Curve Road in the Folsom area.

Using interviews and social media, investigators discovered that Herndon was advertising the Porsche tires and rims for sale on Facebook.  That discovery led to the identification of LeBlanc as the person who orchestrated the attempted fraud.

A detective contacted the insurance company investigator, and LeBlanc’s insurance claim was never paid.

Herndon was the first to be arrested.  He was placed in the Washington Parish Jail on October 26 and  released the same day after posting a $5,000 bond.  Herndon is charged with simple arson.

LeBlanc was arrested on November 8 and released the same day after posting a $10,000 bond.  He is charged with arson with intent to defraud.