Crime

Coast residents may have been scammed by this Picayune pool man, cops say

Shane Bledsoe
Shane Bledsoe Pearl River County Sheriff's Department

Several people wanting to get their pools ready for the summer may be out of luck. They claim there's a pool business owner to blame.

Shane Bledsoe, owner of Southern Pools and Spa, took money for the jobs and failed to do the work or refund their money, says Marc Ogden, chief investigator for the Pearl River County Sheriff's Department.

The alleged crimes occurred in Pearl River County and in three Louisiana areas: Kentwood, East Baton Rouge and St. Tammany Parish, Ogden said.

Bledsoe is accused of taking $2,000 from a Pearl River County woman who paid him that amount in April to buy a swimming pool liner, and she would have paid him more to put it in and do other repairs, Ogden said.

In a period of more than two months, Bledsoe, 33, kept telling the woman he would be at her home on a certain date, or he would have it done by a certain date, and finally he told her he wasn't returning the money or the pool liner, according to Ogden.

Bledsoe had been operating his Picayune-based business out of a building on West Canal Street but had been evicted for failing to pay his rent, Ogden said. He doesn't appear to have an address. "He's been living from pillar to post," Ogden said.

His business website says he serves the Greater New Orleans area.

Deputies arrested him on a warrant on a false pretense charge about 1 a.m. Wednesday. He was being held at the Pearl River County jail.

Bledsoe also is wanted on similar felonies in Lousiana, and has likely scammed clients on the Mississippi Coast, Ogden said. News of his arrest could prompt other victims to contact their local law enforcement department, he said.

Picayune Police arrested him at least twice in 2017, according to the Picayune Item.

A bag of meth was in his pocket when he stopped for a safety checkpoint last October. Police said he didn't have a driver's license, the Item said.

Also, police reported and he had a bag of crystal meth when officers found him asleep in a van on Interstate 59, the Item said. Bledsoe reportedly told police he thought he had parked his van at the dead end of a road. Police said he was blocking traffic in the left lane of I-59 near the Mississippi Welcome Center.

Robin Fitzgerald, 228-896-2307, @robincrimenews
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