SHREVEPORT, La. (KTAL/KMSS) – A Shreveport man wanted for a string of jewelry store heists in Texas and Louisiana is in custody in Natchitoches Parish.

According to the Natchitoches Parish Sheriff’s Office, 39-year-old Lester Ray Moody was arrested during a traffic stop on Interstate 49 near Cypress on Wednesday morning after an NPSO detective spotted him at a nearby business and called for backup.

Police in Longview, Texas, identified the man seen on surveillance video pepper-spraying a Kay’s Jewelers employee at the Longview Mall in July as Lester Ray Moody, 30. (Source: Longview Police Department)

The sheriff’s office says investigators in Longview, Texas, had identified Moody from surveillance video at the Longview Mall on July 1, where a man later identified as Moody and an unidentified woman robbed a Kay Jewelers by posing as customers who asked to look at jewelry before spraying an employee with pepper spray and making off with the goods.

Once police confirmed Moody’s identity, they released images of him asking the public to help bring him to justice in mid-July. Through the course of the investigation, Longview police learned some of the stolen merchandise was sold at a Natchitoches pawn shop.

The pawn shop staff cooperated with NPSO High Tech Crime Unit detectives and confirmed that an expensive piece of jewelry was taken in the Longview robbery. They also identified Moody as the person who pawned the merchandise.

A warrant was issued for Moody’s arrest.

NPSO detectives learned during their investigation that Moody was arrested in Rapides Parish on a similar offense, was wanted in Richland Parish for armed robbery of a jewelry store, and was a person of interest in a jewelry store robbery in Morehouse Parish.

Detectives would continue networking with Texas and Louisiana law enforcement agencies, gathering intelligence information on Moody pertinent to their investigations.

On Wednesday morning, NPSO Detective V. Kay was traveling on Louisiana Highway 1 near Cypress when he saw Moody with an unidentified female at a local business. The sheriff’s office says Kay conducted surveillance of Moody and requested assistance from patrol deputies.

When Moody and the female left the business, deputies initiated a traffic stop as they entered I-49 at Cypress and took Moody into custody without incident. The female was released at the scene

Moody was arrested without incident.

Moody was booked into the Natchitoches Parish Detention Center and charged with one count of felony robber in Longview, Texas, one count of armed robbery in Richland Parish, two counts of theft by fraud in Natchitoches Parish, and two warrants from the Natchitoches Police Department. Charges in Morehouse Parish are pending.

Moody remains held in the Natchitoches Parish Detention Center, with holds from Texas, Richmond, and Morehouse Parishes.

“By being alert and paying attention to his surroundings, Detective Kay may have prevented other robberies from being committed in central and north Louisiana. We commend Detective Kay, Detective Giannone, and patrol deputies for their assistance during this arrest,” an NPSO statement read.

Anyone with information about this case should contact NPSO High Tech Crime Unit Detectives Michael Giannone or Sgt. Victor Kay at 318-357-7811