Six arrested in LaPlace burglaries

Published 12:00 am Monday, June 5, 2006


Staff Reporter

LAPLACE — Six arrests, five of them juveniles, were made by a special task force of the St. John Sheriff’s Office to snap a string of 14 burglaries and four attempted burglaries of area businesses which have taken place since April 30.

&#8220Devin Gomez, 17, of LaPlace was arrested early Sunday morning,” Jones said. &#8220He is being held on a $146,500 bond set by Judge Becnel. The other five were juveniles. They are 14, 15 and 16 years old, and they are being held at my place.”

Jones said he had thoughts of letting the juveniles go to the their parents, but that he wanted to keep them at the Sherman Walker Correctional Center, because being in their parents’ supervision is not going to help, according to Jones.

Jones said all the individuals are local residents, and he is concerned with their situations considering the individuals did the burglaries late at night and early mornings.

&#8220A total damage in cash and stolen items is $29,000,” Jones said. &#8220Vandalism to the businesses was around $11,000 and the lost revenue of the businesses was around $20,000, which is $60,000 in total damages.”

Jones said to find the suspects, he put together a special task force that was on duty at all times until these individuals were found.

&#8220One of my task force officers was passing by Gem Drugs in Reserve, and noticed the lights were completely out, when usually they are always on,” Jones said. &#8220They saw the individuals in the back of the building, and the individuals fled on the levee towards LaPlace. All six were apprehended.”

Jones said merchandise is still being recovered, and that the main things stolen were items they could carry out.

The 14 businesses burglarized were:

€ Roussel’s Garden Express, April 30

ª Pizza Hut, May 2

€ Appearances, May 14

€ Louisiana Airport Authority, May 14

€ Eagle Properties, May 16

€ Kingsley House, May 16

€ Audibel Hearing Healthcare, May 16

€ Securitas Security Company, May 16

€ LaPlace Pet Shop and Grooming, May 23

€ Melancon’s, May 23

€ Fastenal Company, May 24

€ LaPlace Feed and Seed, May 26

€ Sunshine Equipment, May 26

The four attempted burglaries were at:

€ River Region Chamber of Commerce, May 14

€ Clyde’s Barber Shop, May 24

€ Dollar General, May 28

€ Gem Drugs, May 28

Manager of Roussel’s Garden Express, Bernie Robichaux, said when the first employee came to work on May 1, they knew something was wrong.

&#8220It was a disaster,” Robichaux said. &#8220They had busted up bags of chemical products all over the floor, and then got liquid chemicals and poured that over it. They poured that stuff all over the computers.”

Robichaux said they also spray painted the floors and the ceilings, and one of the computers.

&#8220The only thing stolen that was of value was $500 worth of vegetable seeds,” Robichaux said. &#8220Everything else they took was toilet paper, toothpaste, mosquito control, air fresheners, hand creams and things like that.”

Robichaux said they also took some little trinkets that she said was probably for Mother’s Day gifts. She also said it took a full 12 hours just to clean up and about two weeks to get back to normal.

Louisiana Airport Authority Executive Director Glenda Jeansonne said she is disappointed.

&#8220It’s upsetting to see what young people today are doing with their time,” Jeansonne said. &#8220It’s disappointing that there is not something to keep them out of trouble like this.”

Jeansonne said two laptops, digital camera, equipment to a projector and a cell phone was stolen from the business, and that files were scattered all over the place.

&#8220These children have no idea what we go through to run these businesses,” Jeansonne said. &#8220Our files on our hard drives are gone, and we will have to start all over again.”