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Constable posting warrant notices on doors, woman receives one in error

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BATON ROUGE - One woman came home from work last week to a green notice on her door saying she had an active warrant for her arrest and had 24 hours to get in touch with the city constable and clear her name.

It scared her. Not sure if the notice was legitimate or a scam, the woman contacted 2 On Your Side.

Theresa, who does not want to provide her last name, lives in the Broadmoor Plantation community. The green notice was posted on her door and others nearby.

"It certainly felt like a big deal when I got home from work and spent a night thinking I was in some sort of legal trouble," Theresa said.

At the bottom of the notice was her apartment number and her full name. Theresa called the number on the notice to learn that the office was closed.

"I freaked out because I have not had any tickets, no traffic violations, no kind of interactions with police at all," Theresa said.

Fearing she'd be arrested, Theresa checked the online city court warrant lookup and her name came back with zero results. The next morning she called the court just to be sure and was instructed to come downtown, where she confirmed her name was clear of any tickets.

"She said your name's clear, she's like we've gotten lots of these today," Theresa said.

The City Constable says there are 112,000 active bench warrants in Baton Rouge. The warrants are for a variety of things, including seat belt violations, speeding tickets, and lapsed insurance. Constable Terrica Williams says deputy constables are working to clear up some paperwork.

"They'll knock on the door, if no one answers the door then they'll leave a notice on the door," Williams said.

The point is to avoid arresting people by giving a warning.

"Come in and take care of their business, that's all we want them to do," Williams said.

Last week, the constable's office was in Broadmoor Plantation, and Theresa's name got caught up in the mix.

"Somehow as they were writing the names, this name was on the list and they accidentally wrote it, which was by accident; it was an error," Williams said.

While most of the notices are going to people with active warrants, Theresa says she lost sleep over what happened and had to miss work to clear it up.

"It sent me into a complete panic," she said.

Since the error, Williams says she has met with her warrant team and instructed them to triple-check all data before knocking on a door or leaving a notice. Williams has also improved the notice to make it less daunting by removing the deadline and some wording. The warrant file number will also be placed on the notice along with the name.

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