Ponchatoula man arrested for unauthorized use of Venice airboat

Incident occurred last November in Cypress Cove Marina, LDWF says

A 31-year-old Pontchatoula man was arrested Monday by enforcement agents with the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries for allegedly taking an airboat last fall from a camp at Cypress Cove Marina in Venice without the owner’s permission.

Blake A. Mitchell was booked with felony unauthorized use of a moveable in connection with an investigation that started Nov. 9, 2016 in Plaquemines Parish, according to a news releases.

Mitchell returned the airboat to the owner after the owner called him, but the owner said the lock and license plate had been removed, and the boat’s ignition had been removed and replaced.

Agents had stopped Mitchell in the Buras area where he was using the airboat for hog hunting, and for towing his disabled airboat across the Mississippi River, but were unaware then that it had been removed from the camp in Venice, according to LDWF spokesman Adam Einck.

However, agents later received video surveillance from two security systems allegedly showing Mitchell’s truck towing the airboat in the early morning hours of Nov. 8 at the marina, the release states.

Warrants were secured and Mitchell was arrested Monday at the Jefferson Parish Courthouse, where he was answering unrelated wildlife charges, according to the release.

Felony unauthorized use of a moveable having a value in excess of $500 brings up to a $5,000 fine and five years in jail, the release states.