UPDATE: Three arrested for imitation explosive devices at schools, business

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BIENVILLE Parish (KTAL) — UPDATE (4/19/19) The State Fire Marshal’s Office has arrested two men and a woman for creating and planting imitation explosive devices at two north Louisiana school campuses as well as using a similar device during the robbery of a check-cashing business.

Lacentrusa Mayweather, 47, of Winnfield, has been booked into the Bienville Parish Jail on one count each of Fake Explosive Device, Criminal Conspiracy and Criminal Trespassing.

Paul Nash Jr., 41, of Jonesboro, has been booked into the Bienville Parish Jail on one count each of Principal to Fake Explosive Device, Criminal Conspiracy and Criminal Trespassing.

Tabitha Gray, 42, of Ball, has been booked into the Bienville Parish Jail on one count each of Principal to Fake Explosive Device and Criminal Conspiracy.

All three will be booked into the Natchitoches Parish Jail in the coming days on the same charges, in addition to Terrorizing, Communicating of False Information of Planned Bombing on School Property for Nash and Principal to Communicating of False Information of Planned Bombing on School Property for Mayweather and Gray.

On April 2, the suspects placed a fake bomb on the campus of Lakeview High School, located in the 7300 block of Highway 9 in Campti, then called in a bomb threat. The suspicious object was located and removed from the campus without incident or injury. The Natchitoches Parish Sheriff’s Office investigated the incident in connection with a bank robbery in town the same day.

On April 16, the Bienville Sheriff’s Office requested the assistance of the SFM explosive ordnance detection (EOD) K-9 team in sweeping the Castor High School campus, located in the 100 block of Front Street in Castor. During the investigation of a nearby bank robbery, detectives learned of credible information that a threatening device was on the campus. The suspicious object was located and removed from the campus without incident or injury the following day after one of the suspects directed investigators to its location.

In interviews with investigators, the suspects admitted to creating and placing the fake devices in both locations as distractions to law enforcement in their business-robbing schemes.

The male suspects are also pending booking into the Winn Parish Jail for a February robbery involving a fake bomb at a check-cashing business, located in the 5000 block of Highway 167 North in Winnfield. The charges pending against Mayweather and Nash there are Communication of False Bombing, Fake Explosive Device and Criminal Conspiracy.

The investigation into additional crimes is on-going in collaboration with multiple other law enforcement agencies. Various additional charges have already been brought against the suspects by those agencies and more charges are possible.

The SFM would like to thank the Bienville Sheriff’s Office, Bienville Fire District #6, Louisiana State Police Emergency Services Unit (Bomb Squad), Shreveport Fire Department, Natchitoches Sheriff’s Office and Winn Parish Sheriff’s Office for their partnership in closing these cases.

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UPDATE (4/18/19) Authorities have released details on three suspects arrested in connection with the robbery of a Castor bank earlier this week. 

According to the Bienville Parish Sheriff’s Office, the suspects are 42-year-old Tabitha Lee Gray, 47-year-old Lacentrusa Baron Mayweather, and 47-year-old Paul Junior Nash. 

Gray and Mayweather were taken into custody Tuesday shortly after the robbery at the Bank of Montgomery. 

Nash was captured Wednesday in Jackson Parish following a manhunt.  

All three are facing felony charges of armed robbery with a firearm, aggravated arson of an uninhabited dwelling, and criminal conspiracy. 

Nash and Gray are also charged with misdemeanor resisting an officer. 

Investigators said the suspects claimed a “fake bomb” may have been placed on school grounds at Castor High School as a diversionary tactic to draw law enforcement’s attention away from their normal duties. 

Classes were canceled Wednesday and a search of the complex turned up no signs of an explosive device or anything resembling one. 

Instead, the sheriff’s office said, an abandoned house fire was used as the diversionary tactic.

Investigators in Natchitoches Parish revealed Wednesday that they believe the suspects in the Castor bank robbery are also the ones responsible for the robbery of a Campti bank on April 2 as well as “multiple armed robberies in north Louisiana.”

The Natchitoches Parish Sheriff’s Office is working closely with Bienville Parish Sheriff’s detectives interviewing suspects and witnesses in the case.

There is no word yet on charges related to any other robberies in other jurisdictions. 

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Bienville bank robbery suspect captured in Jackson Parish

UPDATE (4/17/19) The third suspect still at large in the robbery of a Castor bank Tuesday has been captured in Jackson Parish, according to the Bienville Parish Sheriff’s office.

In an update shared to the BPSO Facebook page just before 2 p.m. Wednesday, the sheriff’s office says they have received “creditable information” information that Paul Junior Nash was “in another jurisdiction” and that all searches had been terminated. 

The sheriff’s office also revealed that a search of the Castor School Complex was conducted by the Shreveport Fire Department Bomb Squad, Louisiana State Police, Bienville Parish Fire District 4&5, the State Fire Marshals and BPSO personnel in search of any type explosive device or anything that resembled one, because one of the suspects had stated that a “fake bomb” may have been placed on the school grounds as a diversionary tactic to draw law enforcement’s attention away from their normal law enforcement duties.

Instead, the sheriff’s office says, an abandoned house fire was used as the diversionary tactic.

Castor High School was placed on lockdown Tuesday as police searched for suspects and students were told to stay home Wednesday as a safety precaution. 

Two suspects are already in custody in the robbery of the Castor branch of the Bank of Montgomery early Tuesday afternoon. Authorities were actively searching for Nash, who is from Jonesboro and was considered armed at dangerous. 

There is no word yet on where or how Nash was taken into custody.

The latest developments come on the heels of news that investigators in Natchitoches Parish believe the suspects in the Castor bank robbery are also the ones responsible for the robbery of a Campti bank on April 2 as well as “multiple armed robberies in north Louisiana.”

The Natchitoches Parish Sheriff’s Office says evidence in the robbery of the Campti branch of the City Bank & Trust Co. on April 2 led them to identify Nash and two other suspects they believe were also involved the Castor bank robbery. Police have not released the names of the other suspects.

Chief of Investigations Detective Greg Dunn said in a statement released by NPSO Wednesday that they only released information about the suspected connection between the robberies to law enforcement because they say they did not want to jeopardize the case or tip off the suspects. 

They are also allegedly linked to a bomb threat at Lakeview School. 

The Natchitoches Parish Sheriff’s Office says they are working closely with Bienville Parish Sheriff’s detectives interviewing suspects and witnesses in the case.

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(4/17/19) Authorities in Bienville Parish have identified the suspect still at large in the robbery of a Castor bank on Tuesday. 

According to the Bienville Parish Sheriff’s Office, Paul Junior Nash of Jonesboro is wanted in connection with the robbery of the Castor branch of the Bank of Montgomery in the 9000 block of LA Highway 4 early Tuesday afternoon. 

Nash is believed to be one of three suspects in the bank robbery. Deputies were able to capture the driver of the getaway car and later apprehended a second suspect. Their names and charges have not been released. 

Nearby Castor High School was placed on lockdown Tuesday as police searched for suspects and students were told to stay home Wednesday as a safety precaution. 

Police say an active search is still in progress for Nash, who is believed to be in the Castor area and is considered to be armed and dangerous. 

Anyone who sees anything or anyone suspicious is asked to call 911 immediately. 

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