Auto burglaries – what are we doing?

Published 12:00 am Saturday, March 19, 2022

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Again, after a couple of weeks of little activity, St. Charles Parish residents in Hahnville were again the victims of armed auto burglars who slipped into the area with masks to pull on door handles, looking to steal whatever they could from inside. As I have stated before, several parishes in Southeast Louisiana, going as far north as Alexandria, have fallen prey to this same group of thieves which we have strong reason to believe are based out of Eastern New Orleans. Most concerning is the fact that home video surveillance has captured at least one member of this criminal gang carrying weapons.

We have been taking extraordinary steps including running a task force of deputies during the overnight hours (marked and unmarked) for several weeks now and will continue to do so. We are conducting surveillance in various areas and utilizing crime and ALPR cameras. We have recovered several vehicles from St. Charles Parish that have been stolen. My big concern is when our deputies are able to confront these criminals, the encounter is likely to turn violent. We are taking all necessary steps to prepare. At least two other agencies have gotten into high-speed pursuits with this group as well in recent weeks. We are utilizing other techniques which I cannot disclose publicly.

This week, after receiving a call from a resident who saw suspicious activity, deputies quickly flooded the Hahnville area, but the perpetrators had left the scene.

These are street smart criminals who know what they are doing. To the best of our knowledge, they have hit at least seven parishes, are usually in stolen vehicles which they use and then ditch. They wear masks and gloves.

These thieves have hit St. Charles Parish, in several of our communities and could show up in any area on any given night. They normally strike after midnight when most people are asleep and they can see and hear patrol vehicles coming from a long way off.

I have hosted meetings of representatives of several law enforcement agencies in the area to strategize and share information. We are working closely as well with the New Orleans Police Department. We do have some very promising leads and are working diligently every day to do the best we can to bring these criminals to justice.

What can you do? Please, again, lock your vehicles up every night and remove your valuable. If you see or hear anything suspicious, please call 911 IMMEDIATELY. If you live in the Hahnville area, please check your camera footage if you have it and contact our Detective Bureau 985-783-1135 or call 911.

I wanted you to know that apprehending these criminals and stopping this crime spree is our main priority at this time as well as several other area law enforcement agencies. Our deputies and detectives are working long hours in this effort.

Greg Champagne is the elected sheriff of St. Charles Parish. His office can be reached at 985-783-6237