ST. TAMMANY, La. -- The owner of a Metairie-based moving company, arrested after an exclusive Eyewitness News report about his questionable business practices, is out of jail Wednesday night.
"We're very pleased that you and your colleagues have uncovered all this," said Charlie Heim.
That's because the Heims have been fighting Mr. Move moving company for almost a year, after they had to move out of their home because of chinese drywall.
"When we moved back in, the three trucks were sitting outside and they said they wouldn't move any furniture into the house, any of our belongings, until we paid them a substantial amount of almost as much as we paid up front," Heim said.
The Heims paid the fee anyway, but they claim Mr. Move is responsible for missing property and thousands of dollars in damaged property, like tape marks left on their dresser and countless boxes molded and busted.
Their story is similar to Mandeville resident Megan Bagley's. "I went to pay them the hourly rate," she said. "They gave me this bogus, out-there number of over $2,000 when it was supposed to be $750. We were kind of caught off guard and that's when they locked up the truck and said you either pay this amount or you're not going to see your stuff anymore."
That led to a search and seizure operation of the company's office Monday to get her property back. The arrest of Mr. Move's owner, Dunwoodie McDuffie, came the next day.
Now, a number of new cases have popped up on the desks of law enforcement, both on the Northshore and south shore, as well as at the Better Business Bureau and in emails here to Eyewitness News.
"People that have reached out to us and said, 'This happened to us four years ago. This happened to me two years ago,’" said Mandeville Police Lt. Gerald Sticker.
We tried to locate Mr. McDuffie at the address listed for him, but all we found was an empty house. A call to the phone number listed for his attorney was also not returned.
Authorities believe this is just the beginning.
"It's growing and we've already reached out to other authorities, both local and state, and there's a possibility we'll be reaching out on a federal level as well," Sticker said.
And as new cases open up, the Heims still hold out hope to close their own.
McDuffie is facing charges of extortion and unauthorized use of a movable. Mandeville police say other arrests are expected in this case.