Friday, November 20, 2009

Sgt. Don LeDuff Accused of Shoplifting Perfume

A sergeant in the New Orleans Police Department's juvenile division retired Friday after he was accused of shoplifting a perfume bottle in a Metairie mall, authorities said.

Sergeant Don G. LeDuff, who served 34 years on the force, was accused of pilfering a bottle of fragrance from the J.C. Penney store at Lakeside Shopping Center in plain view of mall security guards, said Col. John Fortunato, a Jefferson Parish Sheriff's Office spokesman.

Deputies issued LeDuff a misdemeanor summons for theft of an item worth less than $100. The Sheriff's Office notified NOPD's Public Integrity Bureau, Fortunato said, and LeDuff opted to retire "with more than 30 years on the job," New Orleans police spokesman Garry Flot said.

It wasn't clear Saturday if the accusations would affect LeDuff's retirement status, Flot said. LeDuff did not return a telephone message.

LeDuff's legal entanglement offered an ironic twist to a career that began in 1975.
In the days after Hurricane Katrina, he was credited with fending off looters intent on breaking into the Marriott Convention Center Hotel, according to a story in New Orleans CityBusiness.

The following year, the nonprofit NOLA's Ark, which planned to repair the flooded homes of at least 50 metro-area first responders, rewarded LeDuff by selecting his eastern New Orleans home as one of the first three to be fixed.