Detectives seek Finish Line bandits, Edgard carjackers

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, May 21, 2002


LAPLACE – Two men, working at breakneck speed, recently cleaned out 65 video poker machines at The Finish Line off-track betting parlor at 2120 W. Airline Drive in LaPlace, according a St. John the Baptist Parish Sheriff’s Office spokesperson.

Capt. Michael Tregre said a security video camera captured the images on tape of two suspects, one black and one white, breaking into a rear door of this business and stealing an estimated $15,000 in less than an hour.

“They knew what they were doing,” Tregre commented. “You can clearly see it.”

The pair forced the door at about 3 a.m. Saturday, an hour after closing time, and immediately went to work opening the machines. Apparently aware of the video camera, each wore bandannas over the lower part of their faces. The white intruder also wore a “porkpie,” or “Gilligan” hat, and the black intruder wore a second bandanna over his head, leaving only his eyes visible.

Tregre estimated the suspects’ ages at early teens to early 20s.

Working at a pace of eight machines per minute, verified by the camera and the machines themselves, each machine issuing a ticket when opened, the intruders swept through 64 of the betting parlor’s 89 machines and left, in and out in about 30 minutes.

The burglary was discovered at 7:33 a.m. when the business was being opened, then the sheriff’s office was notified.

In an unrelated incident, a 34-year-old Lutcher man reported a carjacking Sunday from the parking lot of the Hot Spot lounge, located at 104 Bailey Lane, Edgard.

A deputy was called to the lounge at 3:32 a.m. by the owner of a silver 1998 Lexus GS-300.

He said he was in the car, parked in the lot, talking with a woman.

Two black males approached from the rear, tapped on the window, and produced a silver 9mm handgun, according to the victim.

Forcing the driver from the vehicle, the pair got in and started to leave, then paused for a minute to release the woman still in the car, then fled in an unknown direction, Tregre said.

The car’s owner ran to the lounge, from where he called the sheriff’s office.