Tugboat captain, two others, booked in theft of diesel

A tugboat captain and two other men were arrested after they were caught stealing diesel by pumping the boat’s fuel into an 18-wheeler at a dock in the Cypremort Point area, the St. Mary Sheriff’s Office said.

Rod Pellegrin, a 48-year-old tugboat captain from Cut Off, was booked into jail Tuesday on two counts of felony theft, Traci Landry, spokeswoman for the Sheriff’s Office, said in a news release.

Landry said St. Mary Parish and Terrebonne Parish detectives teamed up to catch the alleged fuel thieves by setting up surveillance Tuesday at La. 319 in the Intracoastal Waterway, near Cypremort Point.

Landry said authorities received information that Pellegrin was stealing diesel from his employer, the boat’s owner.

“Detectives watched as tugboat personnel pumped diesel fuel from the boat to an 18-wheeler tanker truck parked alongside the waterway,” the release stated.

“When detectives approached, the boat workers discarded the hose and fled on the tugboat.”

The officers immediately caught the two men — Louis M. Dutreil Jr., 26, of Marrero, and Eric S. Landry, 27, of Lafitte — who were booked on one count each of possession of stolen things, Landry said.

Later detectives located Pellegrin a short way away at the Ivanhoe dock.

“As the investigation unfolded, detectives learned that Pellegrin planned to sell 2,000 gallons of diesel fuel that night,” according to the release, which stated the stolen fuel was valued at $6,000.

“Detectives also learned that Pellegrin profited from the sale of fuel that belonged to his employer on at least one other occasion,” Landry said.

The Sheriff’s Office did not identify the company that owns the tug boat or the name of the vessel.