St. James reports three incidents of looting after storm

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, September 16, 2008


Staff Reporter

CONVENT – Authorities in St. James have made arrests in one of three incidents of looting within the parish during the aftermath of Hurricane Gustav, said a spokesman for the St. James Sheriff’s Office.

Capt. Sid Berthelot, head of the criminal investigations division, said two adults and one juvenile were taken into custody in connection with a looting incident at Bossy Couture Clothing Store on Highway 20 in Vacherie. Berthelot said the perpetrators made off with assorted clothing and shoes from the small boutique.

Olajuwon D. Lewis, 2147 Kilner St. in Vacherie, and Jonathan Young, 2063 Hwy. 18 in Vacherie, were each booked into the St. James Correctional facility on charges of looting. The men remain in jail on separate bonds of $10,000.

Berthelot could not release any information on the juvenile booked in the case, but said he was taken to the St. James Youth detention Center.

Berthelot said authorities are still investigating a reported burglary at the Corner Drive In store at 2363 Hwy. 18 in Vacherie, but said deputies have issued warrants for three individuals responsible for a burglary at Prejean Discount Tobacco, located at 224 E. Main St. in Gramercy. In both incidents, which are not related, an unspecified amount of tobacco and alcohol was taken from both stores.

“This was just a matter of a handful of thugs trying to take advantage of a situation where there is an evacuation,” said Berthelot. “It’s very frustrating.”

Berthelot said other than the three looting incidents, there were no other reports of burglaries during the duration of the storm, and things stayed fairly quiet in the parish for the most part.

Anyone who may have information on the Corner Drive In burglary should contact the St. James Sheriff’s Office at 225-562-23714.