Bogalusa man arrested for another school bus charge

Published 5:09 am Friday, March 8, 2013

When the Washington Parish Sheriff’s Office arrested Lance Woodward for forgery in relation to a school bus transaction in mid- February Capt. Tommie Sorrell said there were warrants pending for additional charges.

This week detectives picked him up again. This time Woodward, 44, of Bogalusa, was charged with unauthorized use of a motor vehicle and forgery.

The latest investigation into Woodward’s alleged criminal activity began on March 4, when a St. Mary Parish couple contacted the WPSO with allegations that he had defrauded them.

According to the complaint, the couple had advertised a 2006 yellow school bus for sale on Craig’s List in August 2012, and Woodward contacted them about selling the bus for them.

The couple reported that they brought the bus to Woodward in Washington Parish and signed a contract with him to sell the bus for them with the agreement that he would receive a commission when the bus was sold.

They said Woodward contacted them in December 2012 and told them that he wanted to purchase the bus. When they arrived in Washington Parish to complete the transaction, Woodward presented them with a contract to sign, but they were not allowed to see the bus, according to the complaint.

The suspicious couple then tried to track down the bus and eventually located it in St. Helena Parish where it had been leased in November 2012. The lessee reported that Woodward represented himself as the owner of the bus.

The true owners obtained a copy of the lease agreement between Woodward and the St. Helena resident. The agreement had been drawn up in Washington Parish and appeared to have been notarized by a local Justice of the Peace, according to the WPSO.

When investigators contacted the Justice of the Peace he said he had not notarized, prepared or signed the document. The signature was reportedly a forgery.

Sorrell arrested Woodward and put him back in the Washington Parish Jail with a $30,000 bond.

After his arrest last month, Sorrell cautioned anyone entering into a contract with Woodward, especially any involving a yellow school bus, to ensure the validity of the arrangement. This week she said that the warning still holds.

Sheriff Randy Seal was quick to commend Sorrell for her handling of this matter. “Capt. Sorrell received the complaint on March 4 and was able to conclude the investigation and make the arrest one day later,” he said. “When we are notified of a crime in Washington Parish, we will always move forward to discover who committed the crime, arrest them and put them in jail. All cases are not solved this quickly, but criminals can be assured that we will continue to pursue them until they are in custody.”