Fake Priest Identified; Long Rap Sheet With It - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

7/18/07-Kilgore

Fake Priest Identified; Long Rap Sheet With It

We now know the identity of the robbery suspect who posed as a priest at an East Texas hospital and a KLTV 7 investigation now shows the fake priest may have been responsible for similar crimes in as many as 10 different states.

KLTV 7 broke this story last Friday and it has since received attention all over the country. The report is also connecting crimes, and investigators nationwide who've been working these cases. More importantly for folks in East Texas, local officials now think they know who the fake father is and where he's struck before.

Kilgore authorities have now been able to identify their suspect as Leslie Earl Raymond, 37, of California. They say a witness identified Raymond as the priest they saw buying gift cards at a Kilgore CVS Pharmacy just last week. We have obtained a mug shot from Tennessee where Raymond served time back in 2003.  

Kilgore police showed KLTV 7 his extensive rap sheet that dates all the way back to the early 90s. It includes forgery and theft charges all over the United States, coast to coast, and even crossing the Pacific Ocean. 

"He said 'I've got your guy, I know who it is,'" Sergeant Roman Roberson with the Kilgore Police Department says.

Detectives in Sioux Falls, South Dakota hear the news KLTV 7 first broke and contact Kilgore authorities, saying the same fake priest also hit a local hospital there. 

"When I talked to the detective in Sioux Falls, the method of operation was very similar to ours, he went into a hospital dressed as a priest and stole a wallet from a patient, went to straight down the street to I believe it was a Walgreen's there and made some purchases on the patient's credit card," Roberson says.

Now, through a photo lineup using a mug shot, an East Texas witness identified 37-year-old Leslie Earl Raymond of California. Police say he is the fake priest who walked into this Kilgore CVS last week and bought $800 worth of gift cards, right after stealing a wallet from a patient he had prayed with, at a nearby hospital. 

"He's got a lengthy criminal history, basically all over the United States, for committing these type crimes," Roberson adds.

KLTV 7 was shown Raymond's rap sheet by the Kilgore Police Department and authorities say he faces charges from theft to forgery and credit card fraud in 12 cities in ten states: Corona, California, Albuquerque, New Mexico, Las Vegas, Nevada, Reno, Nevada, Carson City, Nevada, Honolulu, Hawaii, Knoxville, Tennessee, Clarksburg, West Virginia, Virginia Beach, Virginia, Dubuque, Iowa, Sioux Falls, South Dakota and now Kilgore, Texas. 

"That's how he makes his living as a con artist traveling around the country and just like we go to work everyday that's how he goes to work, dresses up like a priest," Roberson says.

Now, authorities nationwide say they're trying to catch this imposter priest.  But they say it won't be easy, especially since he has about a dozen aliases, with common names, like Robert Foster and James Kennedy.

"As the story gets around, I think more police departments may be sharing this information with each other, so that will help and hopefully get him located now," Roberson says.

Kilgore authorities say their next step is filing charges against Raymond with the District Attorney's Office, and then putting a warrant out for his arrest. 

Kilgore Police say it is a possibility Raymond is still in the area, but with his pattern of moving around so much, they say he really could be anywhere at this point.  

He's said to be about 6'2", 270 pounds with shaggy brown hair. If you have any information on his whereabouts call Kilgore Police.

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