Sheriff: Victims’ help essential in arrest of teen ‘threat to society’

Published 12:12 am Saturday, January 27, 2018

LAPLACE — Two local armed robbery victims, one who also suffered a sexual assault, were instrumental in providing police information that led to a dangerous suspect’s arrest, authorities said.

“The victims were courageous,” St. John the Baptist Parish Sheriff Mike Tregre said. “They remained strong, confident witnesses. I give them tremendous credit. They paid attention, were alert and, based on specific details they gave us, helped us tremendously (in making an arrest).”

Police said the women were attacked in separate incidents Monday night right outside their homes, resulting in the Tuesday arrest of a 16-year-old male suspect.

Police, who identified the suspect as a LaPlace resident, are not releasing his name based on his juvenile status.

In an unrelated case, authorities said the same juvenile was arrested four months ago in connection to a LaPlace home robbery and firearm theft.

“It’s sad that he is only 16 years old,” Tregre said. “I’m just glad we got him off the street. If he is ever released, I think we need to be notified. He is just a threat to society. I have no other way to describe it.”

Tregre credited local investigators and witnesses for acting fast and securing an arrest in the crimes’ immediate aftermath.

The suspect was booked Tuesday with first degree rape, possession of a stolen firearm and two counts of armed robbery with a firearm. He was transferred to the Terrebonne Juvenile Detention Center.

On Monday at 8:55 p.m., deputies responded to the 1500 block of Cartier Drive in LaPlace in reference to an armed robbery, where they learned a male subject wearing a black hoodie and grey skinny jeans approached the 21-year-old female as she was sitting in a vehicle in her garage.

As the automatic garage door was closing, the subject quickly walked under the door and opened the vehicle door, pointed a handgun to the head of the victim and demanded money.

The victim told officers she resisted when the gunman grabbed her arm and was able to press the garage door remote button on the vehicle’s sun visor. As the garage door began to rise, the assailant fled the scene on foot towards a rear yard of another residence on Cartier Drive, over a fence, to Meeker Loop and South Sugar Ridge.

At 9:26 p.m. the same evening, officers responded to an armed robbery in the 1400 block of Meeker Loop in LaPlace, where they learned a male wearing a black jacket and grey “skinny” jeans approached a 64-year-old female as she was parked in her driveway, exiting her vehicle.

The man pointed a gun and demanded her wallet. He then forced the victim back into the vehicle, where he sexually assaulted her, police said. The assailant stole a computer tablet and cell phone, then fled on foot.

Through investigation, officers developed a 16-year-old juvenile as a suspect and arrested him Tuesday at the home of his parents.

During a search of his residence, police said they discovered the firearm used during the robberies, which was reported stolen in 2012 in St. John Parish.

The computer tablet also was recovered, police said.