Man accused of stealing AC units surrenders to authorities

Published 12:00 am Saturday, April 3, 2010



LAPLACE – A St. John the Baptist Parish man accused of stealing air conditioning units from several LaPlace area businesses was arrested Monday after turning himself in at the parish jail, according to a spokesman for the Sheriff’s Office

Capt. Dane Clement, public information officer for the Sheriff’s Office, said Corey Lee, 39, has eluded authorities since January, when investigators determined he was responsible for removing six central air conditioning units from a building on Belle Terre Boulevard in December 2009.

Clement said Lee was arrested Jan. 6 when he was caught in the act of stealing an air conditioning unit valued at $2,300 from a business in the 2700 of U.S. Highway 51, but investigators had not tied him to the previous thefts until after he had bonded out on Jan. 7.

Detectives obtained warrants for Lee’s arrest on Jan. 9,” Clement said. “He has spent time living in several areas outside the parish, and detectives could not pinpoint an exact address.”

Lee, whose last known address was listed as LaPlace, was charged Monday with six counts of theft and one count of contempt of court. He is being held at the Sherman Walker Correctional Center in LaPlace in lieu of a $120,350 bond.

Clement said detectives believe Lee is also responsible for a string of burglaries that began in August of 2009. He said the Sheriff’s Office had been receiving complaints of burglaries of newly constructed homes or homes still under construction throughout the LaPlace area. Residents had reported assorted kitchen appliances and air condition units stolen from the homes and construction sites. Detectives believe after Lee stole items he would sell them.

Anyone having dealt with Lee or having knowledge of the burglaries should call St. John Detectives at 985-652-9513.