Sheriff warns residents to lock vehicles

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, September 22, 2010



LAPLACE – Authorities in St. John the Baptist Parish said thieves who ravaged through about a dozen cars in LaPlace Friday were helped along the way by residents who left their vehicles unlocked.

Capt. Dane Clement, public information officer for the St. John Parish Sheriff’s Office, said the office received 12 burglary complaints involving vehicles in the Melrose Drive and Ellerslie Avenue area. Clement said each complaint involved a vehicle left unlocked the night before.

“The vehicles were rummaged through and small amounts of money and loose change were taken,” Clement said. “No items of great value were stolen from any of the vehicles.”

Clement also said one incident involved the theft of a 1994 white two-door Mercury Cougar that had been drained of fluids in preparation of it being salvaged. Clement said the vehicle was stolen around the same time as the burglaries, but investigators had not determined whether the incident was connected to the other thefts.

He said the vehicle likely had not gotten far, and authorities anticipate recovering it quickly.

Sheriff Wayne L. Jones said in a release that unlocked vehicles present obvious opportunities to burglars. He advised residents that no valuables should be left inside vehicles in plain view of passersby. He also said residents should make an effort to ensure that their vehicles are secured every night. 

“Don’t make things any easier on these criminals,” Jones said. “Any one who may see suspicious individuals in their neighborhoods should call 911 to report them.”

Clement said Tuesday that no arrests have been made in connection with the car burglaries Friday.