Teen caught by police after breaking into Garyville Magnet School

Published 12:00 am Monday, February 19, 2007


Staff Reporter

GARYVILLE – The St. John Sheriff’s Office arrested a LaPlace teenager on Monday who allegedly broke into Garyville Magnet School and stole four loudspeakers earlier this month.

Kenneth Smith, 19, of 2529 English Colony Dr., LaPlace, allegedly assisted two 16-year-old juveniles in a theft of the school on Feb. 1, but escaped arrest during the break-in.

Police tracked down Smith through an investigation and booked him for simple burglary of an immovable structure, simple criminal damage to property, and two counts of contributing to juvenile delinquency during a felony.

On the night of the theft St. John Deputy Alkan Traveler responded to a robbery alarm at the school and discovered a black Chevy Blazer under the breezeway in front of the school. Traveler assumed a break-in occurred and called in additional units to assist him with a possible arrest.

While he waited for other officers to arrive, Traveler saw a white male walk out of the vehicle and told him back away from the vehicle.

Traveler padded him down, found no weapons and asked what he was doing at the school.

The subject, a 16-year-old LaPlace resident who will remain anonymous at police request to protect the juvenile’s identity, told the officer that his friends were using the bathroom but claimed he couldn’t remember their names.

Deputy Tauceda arrived at the scene and searched the Blazer while Traveler watched over the juvenile. Inside he discovered a crowbar that he assumed was used to break into the school.

Two more officers arrived at Tauceda’s request and they began searching the school, starting with an open door at the rear of the building.

The two alleged thieves, the other 16-year-old juvenile and Smith, saw the officers and sprinted out of the school towards South Church Street, where officers lost sight of them. One teenager allegedly carried a loudspeaker during the chase, according to a witness.

Officers continued to search the school and discovered that four loudspeakers were missing. Two loudspeakers were recovered within the school, and another was found Feb. 11 in a field behind Vita Street. The last speaker has not been recovered.

Smith and the other juvenile were arrested at their homes by St. John police.