Rapper arrested on robbery charges

Published 12:00 am Saturday, November 27, 1999

LEONARD GRAY / L’Observateur / November 27, 1999

HAHNVILLE – A would-be rap artist was arrested early Monday morning after allegedly carrying out a string of armed robberies, reportedly to finance the recording of an album.

St. Charles Parish Sheriff Greg C. Champagne said James Lane Jr., 20, 320Turtle Creek Lane, St. Rose, is charged with four counts of armed robberyin St. Charles Parish.Lane bills himself as “Bum Beazy” and dresses in black and yellow in imitation of a bumblebee. He has allegedly confessed to the entire stringof robberies. When captured, he had $600 and a .25-caliber semiautomatichandgun with him.

Champagne said Lane is believed to have committed one robbery in Baton Rouge, one in Kenner, one in Jefferson Parish and two in Orleans Parish, besides the four in St. Charles Parish, on Sunday and Monday morning. TheMonday robberies led to the arrest.

Lane was still in custody in Kenner Tuesday morning, where he was captured on Interstate 10 following a chase by a St. Charles deputy whorammed Lane’s car with his own and made the apprehension.

After the last robbery in Destrehan, a responding deputy spotted Lane’s 1988 Mazda Protg at the I-10/310 interchange and pursued.

The pursuit entered Kenner, where Lane attempted to evade capture by hopping on and off the interstate at the Loyola, Williams and Veterans exits. The deputy finally made the arrest when Lane tried to enter an exitramp at Williams and the deputy rammed Lane’s vehicle, pinning it to the fence.

Champagne detailed the events of the day as follows: Lane reportedly began his armed robbery spree with a holdup of a MacFrugal’s in Baton Rouge Sunday morning. Lane then struck at aMcDonald’s in Gretna, then a Shell convenience store in New Orleans East.

Lane then reportedly robbed the Circle K convenience store at 10431 Airline Highway at 2 p.m. He followed this with a self-confessed robberyat a nursing home on St. Charles Avenue in New Orleans (still underinvestigation), then at 8:30 p.m. at the Racetrac convenience store at 521Almedia Road, St. Rose. This was followed by a robbery at the Holmes Food Mart at 10260 Airline Highway in St. Rose (where the robbery was videotaped), then an E-Z Serveon Veterans Boulevard in Kenner.

His last reported robbery was at the Winn-Dixie at 12519 Airline Highway, Destrehan, after which he got on I-310 and headed back toward Jefferson Parish.

At the I-310 split Deputy Skip Kowalski, in a semi-unmarked Ford Explorer, spotted the suspect vehicle at 3 a.m. Kowalkski turned on theoverhead lights and the vehicle took off at a high rate of speed.

At the climax of the chase Kowalski pinned Lane’s vehicle against a fence and pinned him. Within minutes, Champagne said, at least 25 policevehicles were at the scene, including Kenner Police, Louisiana State Police and the Jefferson Sheriff’s Office.

Lane told investigators he was trying to raise $10,000 to record a rap album, Champagne said, adding Lane has a prior criminal record.

Champagne said Lane, if convicted on all counts, could face a minimum of 15 years in prison on each count.

“He went to the well once too often,” Champagne said.

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