Robbed twice: Victim attends sentencing

Published 12:11 am Wednesday, March 30, 2016

EDGARD — Twice the target of violent stick-ups, the victim of a dangerous armed robbery sat in an Edgard courthouse last week, authorities said, and faced her assailant.

He didn’t get away this time.

Reginald Smith

Reginald Smith

According to St. John the Baptist Parish District Attorney Bridget A. Dinvaut’s office, Reginald Smith was sentenced to 20 years with the Department of Corrections March 22 by 40th Judicial District Court Judge Mary Hotard Becnel.

“The victim of both robberies sat with District Attorney personnel as she observed the sentencing, indicating to the judge that she was in agreement with the plea and that she simply wanted justice to be served,” a release from Dinvaut’s office said.

Smith’s sentence does not come with the benefit of probation.

Smith was arrested Oct. 14, 2014, which was Night Out Against Crime in St. John Parish.

Smith, 39, of Kenner was arrested in Kenner after authorities said he robbed Big River Food and Fuel on Airline Highway in LaPlace.

The store clerk told deputies a male gunman wearing a red plaid shirt approached the counter at 4:52 p.m. and demanded everything from the register.

Authorities said the perpetrator removed a handgun from his front waistband and pointed it at the clerk, who surrendered the register’s cash. The gunman fled the store in a Pontiac Grand Am, authorities said, and Kenner Police Department officers stopped a car matching that description later Tuesday evening at Interstate 10 and Loyola Drive, arresting the driver, identified as Smith.

St. John the Baptist Parish Sheriff Mike Tregre said local deputies “got a description of the suspect and car out quickly” and crime camera footage helped investigators. He also told L’OBSERVATEUR the day after the arrest that the armed robbery may have been connected to a similar one at the same store the previous year.

According to Dinvaut’s office, Smith was also charged with the July 19, 2013, armed robbery of Big River Food and Fuel.

Dinvaut credited a swift response by authorities for leading to Smith’s arrest within 35 minutes of the robbery and the recovery of a stolen firearm and Smith’s clothes worn during the robbery.