Ashley Rodrigue / Eyewitness News
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ST. TAMMANY PARISH, La. -Last September, Brice McDuffie was arrested by the St. Tammany Parish Sheriff's Office for unauthorized use of a movable.
The cuffs came out after a dispute with a woman who did not want to be identified for fear of retaliation.'I said, 'I'm willing to settle up with you when the move is done. Why are you trying to charge me this amount when it's not going to take that long?' He didn't really have an explanation; told me I was going to give him that amount or I wasn't going to get my furniture.'
The arrest report says Brice McDuffie, 18 at the time, was an employee of a moving company with a phone number out of Metairie, which belongs to Mr. Move.The report also shows Brice had the same address as Dunwoodie McDuffie III, the owner of Mr. Move, who was arrested Tuesday, also for unauthorized use of a movable, along with extortion.
The case against Dunwoodie McDuffie was the result of this Mandeville woman's claim that her property was held hostage by Mr. Move because she wouldn't pay a price higher than what she was originally quoted.
In Brice McDuffie's arrest report from last year, the deputy noted McDuffie, 'appeared very arrogant.'
The report goes on to say, 'Mr. McDuffie remained on the phone with his father/manager who was adamant about refusing to return the property.'The deputy says, 'Trying to interrupt the investigation, Mr. McDuffie's father passed several messages through his son including threatening to call the commanding officer of the agency.'
In addition, the report notes a conversation with the other employee working on the move who, 'advised he has seen the company use similar tactics on other customers.'
When the deputy told Brice McDuffie to release the property or face criminal charges, the report states, 'Mr. McDuffie simply laughed, smirked and shrugged his shoulders.'That's when Brice McDuffie was arrested.The woman says she's glad to see another case end like hers.
'It's just not right,' she said, 'People are willing to pay for their move don't try to rip them off.'
A spokesperson for District Attorney Walter Reed says Brice McDuffie's case never made it to a courtroom because he qualified for the pre-trial diversion program.That program allows an alternative for first-time offenders, which includes counseling and classes.Brice McDuffie is still active in that program.
Two other employees of Mr. Move were arrested Thursday, on the same charges as owner Dunwoodie McDuffie III, in connection with the recent Mandeville case.
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