Alert victim nabs 3

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, November 17, 1999

ERIK SANZENBACH / L’Observateur / November 17, 1999

LAPLACE – Thanks to an observant LaPlace women who was getting her morning paper, the St. John Parish Sheriff’s Office has broken up a ring ofthieves that were stealing stereo equipment out of automobiles. Threemen were charged with vehicle burglary and possession of stolen property.

Detective Todd Hymel, in charge of the investigation, said that more charges are pending if they can link the suspects to several other vehicle robberies that occurred the same night.

According to Hymel, the Sheriff’s Office received a 9-1-1 call at 4:29 a.m.on Nov. 9 from a woman on Ellerslie Drive who said that as she went out toget her morning paper, she observed a maroon van parked on the street with the lights on, the engine running and the door open. She also sawseveral men carrying stuff from a car to the van. She then called thepolice and gave a complete description of the men and the van.

A half-hour later, Deputy James Nolan spotted a maroon van at the E-Z Serve store on the corner of Carrollwood and Airline Highway. Heapproached the van and spoke to the three men and, after inspecting the van and talking to the men, Nolan called in an investigation team.

Hymel, and Detective Royal Burke began questioning the suspects: Brian Kennedy, 21, 769 Madewood, LaPlace; Eddie Shorty, 18, 298 Daffodil St.,Mt. Airy; and Dorian Smith, 19, 414 Adams St., Kilona. Burke said he was told by one of the suspects that the stolen property had been stashed at a house a short distance from the gas station.

When the detectives went to the location, they found amplifiers, speakers and stereos from five different vehicles including the one on Ellerslie Street. The three suspects were then arrested, charged with vehicleburglary and possession of stolen property. Their bond was set at $5,000each. By the end of the investigation, Hymel said the three suspects couldeach have five counts of vehicle burglary.

None of the suspects have any prior criminal records in St. John Parish,Hymel added.

The stolen stereos are valued at more than $2,500. The Ford Escort onEllerslie contained over $1,200 worth of equipment itself. The equipmenthas been identified by three owners, and the police are still looking for the owners of the other two stereo systems. Also reported stolen wereabout 20 CDs, an equalizer and a radar detector.

Detective Hymel was very appreciative of the community support in this case.

“There is no doubt that the woman who called the Sheriff’s Office was instrumental in getting these thieves off the street,” Hymel said.

Community involvement is very important in fighting crime, especially as the holiday season gets closer.

“Car burglaries pick up at this time of the year,” Hymel added, “If anyone sees anything suspicious, please call the Sheriff, especially at this time of the year.”

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