Mary Kilpatrick / The Houma Courier
HOUMA, La. Someone defaced and damaged a Suthon Avenue house early Sunday morning, and the owner claims they targeted the wrong home.
Jonathan Menard, 28, 204 Williams Ave., was arrested blocks away from the 307 Suthon Ave. residence just hours after the incident occurred, Houma Police said.
Homeowner Andrew Dugas, 24, said he chased down the suspect later that morning after seeing him drive by the home in a truck streaked with blue paint. He said he quickly called authorities and followed the silver Ford F-150 to Sarah's Discount Store, 8006 W. Park Ave.
'He came by to check out his art work, and we caught him,' Andrew said.
Menard was charged with defacing property with graffiti, criminal trespassing and possession of marijuana, according to the Terrebonne Sheriff's Office. He was later booked on possession with intent to distribute schedule IV drugs and possession of drug paraphernalia.
Andrew said he and his wife, Jessica Dugas, 24, woke at 4 a.m. Sunday to strange noises outside their home. They thought it was their cat and dismissed it, he added.
Minutes later, they heard a crash, a thud and the sound of breaking glass, he said.
As Jessica frantically called police, Andrew said he grabbed his gun and ran outside. He found his Houma property severely damaged.
Windows were smashed. A racial slur, smeared in wet blue paint, ran across his front door. The phrase, 'I'm a thief and dope dealer,' was written across the siding of the house in loopy red spray paint.
The back windshield of the couple's new car, purchased three weeks ago, was shattered.
'They threw bricks at my windows,' Andrew said. 'They threw a concrete block at my wife's car.'
The Dugases said they filed a report with Houma Police and went back to bed. They said they had no idea why their home was targeted. Both said they do not deal drugs.
The next morning around 9:30, as Andrew stood with friends surveying the damage, he said he saw the F-150 drive by their street before following it.
Police arrived at Sarah's Discount Store moments after Andrew got there and arrested Menard, Houma Police Chief Todd Duplantis said.
'You know you got the wrong... house?' Andrew said he asked Menard, as he stood in handcuffs outside of the retailer.
The Dugases estimate they received several thousand dollars' worth of damage to their property.
They recently had the exterior of their home professionally painted and are trying to repair much of the damage on their own to save money.
'The house has been in my family for years, and my husband and I have been fixing it up on the weekends for months,' Jessica said. 'We both work hard to afford the things that we have.'
By Monday afternoon, Andrew had sanded off most of the lettering and taped up the damaged windows. Splotches of blue dotted the sidewalk in front of the home and remained beneath Andrew's fingernails.
'You can't really clean oil-based paint,' he said.
The couple credit neighbors for helping them piece together the crime. One neighbor told them they saw a shadowy person taking photos of the property around 9 p.m. Saturday when the couple was not home. Another told them they saw someone outside their home around 1 a.m. Sunday.
'I don't think I will ever get back my sense of security,' Jessica said. 'My home was attacked, and I feel personally violated.'
Andrew said that he knew of Menard before the incident and thought he came from a good upbringing.
'He mistook my house and did something stupid,' Andrew said.
Menard, who couldn't be reached for comment, was released from the Terrebonne Parish Jail Tuesday after posting a $1,500 bond, authorities said.