Woman, three men arrested for robbery

Published 12:00 am Monday, July 29, 2002


LAPLACE – Three LaPlace men were charged with the July 20 armed robbery of Rusty’s Pool Tavern on Airline Highway in LaPlace.

A call to the St. John the Baptist Sheriff’s Office at 3:47 p.m. by a man who arrived at the scene to stop for a drink, reported the robbery at gunpoint by three white males at the pool hall located at 513 E. Airline Highway.

Also arrested on July 24 was a female bartender who assisted in the planning of the robbery.

Arrested were:

• Claude R. Ford III, 19, 1103 Main St., LaPlace, resisting an officer by flight and two counts armed robbery.

• Paul Wilcox, 17, 1107 Cardinal St., LaPlace, resisting an officer by flight, illegal use of a weapon during a felony and two counts armed robbery.

• Derek P. Keating, 20, 132 Matthew Drive, LaPlace, resisting an officer by flight and two counts armed robbery.

• Brandi Smith, 18, 103 Augustin Lane, LaPlace, two counts principal to armed robbery.

According to St. John Parish Sheriff Wayne L. Jones, officers arrived at the bar at 513 E. Airline Highway in three minutes, in time to fan out and close in on the nearby cane field where the trio were hiding.

With the assistance of K-9 officers, the three were routed and taken into custody within 11 minutes of the initial 911 call.

Jones said the three suspects entered the bar, which was occupied at the time by a female employee and a 59-year-old LaPlace male customer. As the trio entered, Wilcox allegedly fired a 12-gauge shotgun into the ceiling, then took money from the register, the patron and the office area.

Before fleeing the scene, Jones added, an attempt was made to remove the surveillance camera tape, and instead, took the entire camera and VCR.

Some of the money was recovered with the suspects. A further arrest is anticipated, the sheriff continued. A total of 15 officers were involved in the incident.

Bond was set on Wilcox at $123,000 by 40th Judicial District Judge J. Sterling Snowdy, with bonds set at $103,000 on Ford and Keating and $80,000 on Smith.

All three men have confessed, said Jones, as they implicated Smith.