Deputies close in on robbery, kidnapping

Published 12:07 am Saturday, July 4, 2015

LAPLACE — St. John the Baptist Parish Sheriff Mike Tregre said another arrest in the case is imminent after a Reserve man was booked with kidnapping and other charges this week in connection to the Jan. 16 armed robbery of a LaPlace business.

Herbert Johnson Jr.

Herbert Johnson Jr.

Tregre said detectives arrested Herbert Johnson Jr., 46, of Reserve Monday at his place of employment.

“Over the course of the investigation, detectives identified Johnson as a suspect in connection with the armed robbery,” Tregre said in a release.

Johnson was booked with principal to aggravated burglary, principal to aggravated kidnapping and principal to armed robbery. Sgt. Dane Clement said Johnson was transferred to another facility.

Tregre said his department is “confident we know who the second perpetrator is,” adding detectives “are building a very strong case against him.”

Tregre said the second person of interest is currently incarcerated on separate home invasion charges.

Johnson and the second suspect are convicted felons, Tregre said, adding Johnson has been arrested 33 times in St. John Parish since May 1986.

A suspect with a lengthy criminal record was something Tregre suspected when news of the crime broke in January.

“Whoever it was has probably been involved in criminal activity before, and there’s a very good possibility they could do it again,” Tregre said at the time.

Authorities said a man broke into a couple’s LaPlace home and later robbed their store on West Airline Highway Jan. 16.

Tregre said deputies, who responded to a LaPlace business following the report of an armed robbery in progress, learned the assailant fled on foot to the rear of the store toward the railroad tracks. Tregre said deputies searched the area to no avail, adding no one was injured in the robbery. The victims told detectives an armed man was in their home when they arrived at approximately 8 p.m. that night, adding the assailant asked them where their safe was.

After realizing there was no safe at the residence, the victims said the armed man forced the couple to drive him to their store. The victims said when they arrived at the store, the assailant demanded money and the victims surrendered an undisclosed amount of cash to the suspect, who then fled the scene.

The Sheriff’s Office later released video surveillance of suspects and announced they were seeking information leading to the arrest of two men.