Slidell man charged in apartments fire, and other area crime news

Slidell man charged in apartments fire

A Slidell man who is accused of setting fire to the Act X apartments near Slidell in the fall, igniting a blaze that injured no one but forced the dramatic rescue of several residents, has been formally charged with aggravated arson and 32 counts of attempted second-degree murder.

The 22nd Judicial District Attorney’s Office filed a formal bill of information Jan. 11 charging David F. Rutledge, 58, with the crimes.

Rutledge had been a resident of the complex on Pontchartrain Drive when what residents described as “an explosion” preceded the fire about 1 a.m. Sept. 6.

No one was injured, but several residents had to jump from second-floor balconies of the 16,000-square-foot complex.

Two cut Thursday in Metairie, Terrytown

A man was cut in the 3500 block of Division Street in Metairie on Thursday, the Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office said in a crime bulletin about 5 p.m. He did not receive life-threatening injuries.

About 7:30 p.m., a woman was cut in a separate incident at 91 Holmes Blvd. in Terrytown, the Sheriff’s Office said. Her injuries also were not believed to be life-threatening.

Suspect sought in pistol-whipping

New Orleans police said Thursday they are looking for Allen Shorts III, who they allege pistol-whipped a woman in the head during a fight in a parking lot at 5700 Crowder Blvd. in New Orleans East about 1 a.m. Jan. 4.

Police claim Shorts then pointed a pistol at another woman as he fled the scene.

They intend to book Shorts on second-degree battery and aggravated assault with a firearm.

Suspect in robbery quickly arrested

Police said they made quick work of arresting a man after he robbed a Subway restaurant in the 5900 block of Bullard Avenue about 7 p.m. Wednesday.

Police said Douglas Brown, 44, ordered a sandwich, then grabbed his waistband and implied he had a gun when the cashier opened the register. At that point, police said, Brown tried to get away with the entire cash register but was blocked by wires anchoring it to the counter.

So Brown instead grabbed some cash and ran, authorities said. He was arrested about 20 minutes later near Bullard Avenue and Midpoint Drive. A cashier identified him as the robber.

No gun was found on Brown. Police booked him on first-degree robbery.

Methamphetamine ring member pleads guilty

A San Francisco man pleaded guilty Thursday to counts of conspiracy to distribute and possession with intent to distribute 500 grams or more of methamphetamine, the office of U.S. Attorney Kenneth Polite said.

Naser “Nick” Yousef Gheith, 37, said he was a member of a ring that stretched from California to Germany. Authorities said they seized 2 pounds of meth headed for New Orleans.

Another man, Christopher Fitchie, has already pleaded in connection with the case.

Gheith faces a minimum of 20 years in prison and a maximum life term. His sentencing is set for April 20.

Morning fire damages residence in N.O. East

Forty-eight firefighters battled a blaze in New Orleans East for an hour Thursday morning. No injuries were reported, the New Orleans Fire Department said.

NOFD Operator Gregory Davis said the fire at a two-story, wood-framed brick home in the 100 block of Torrey Pines Drive was reported about 10:15 a.m.

One family was displaced, and the cause of the fire is under investigation.

Harvey man indicted in child porn case

A Harvey man was indicted in federal court Thursday on a charge of receiving child pornography, the office of U.S. Attorney Kenneth Polite said.

Polite’s office said U.S. Homeland Security Investigations agents took Christopher Orgeron, 33, into custody at his job in Westwego. He faces a mandatory minimum of five years and a maximum of 20 years in prison.

Silk Road coupon counterfeiter sentenced

A New Orleans man who sold counterfeit coupons on the online marketplace Silk Road was sentenced to 41 months in prison on Thursday, according to the office of U.S. Attorney Kenneth Polite.

Beau Wattigney, 30, had pleaded guilty in July.

Others sold guns and drugs on Silk Road, but Wattigney chose the more prosaic path of selling fake coupons at discount rates. One website dubbed his “the most boring Silk Road story ever told.”

Police book man after confrontation at home

New Orleans police said 53-year-old Robert Moses was in a mood to fight when he returned to his home in the 2900 block of Louisiana Avenue about 10 p.m. Wednesday.

Police said he asked another man, 57, to battle with him, then pulled out a pocket knife and cut the man.

Moses was booked on a count of aggravated battery.

Pedestrian killed in St. Charles Parish

An unidentified pedestrian was killed about 10:30 p.m. Wednesday on U.S. 90 westbound near Tiger Drive in St. Charles Parish, State Police said.

Preliminary investigation revealed that Chelsey Guidroz, 19, of Houma, was driving a 2000 Chevrolet pickup westbound in the right lane approaching Tiger Drive. The pedestrian, wearing dark clothing, was walking west in the same lane. Guidroz saw the pedestrian and tried to take evasive action but struck the pedestrian, who died at the scene, police said.

Speed and impairment are not considered to be factors, State Police said.

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