Sheriff’s Office visits every home to warn of car break-ins

Boutte man charged with breaking into 10 vehicles last week

June 22, 2012 at 9:01 am  | Mobile Reader | Pring this storyPrint 

St. Charles Parish Sheriff Greg Champagne has dispatched employees to every home in the parish in order to get the word out about vehicle burglaries.

Champagne said that there are two or three car burglaries each day in St. Charles. The burglaries usually occur late at night or early in the morning between the hours of midnight to 3 a.m. Because Champagne says that the car burglars are mostly on foot, they are difficult for deputies to catch.

"Over 99 percent of car burglaries involved vehicles left unlocked where valuable items such as wallets, purses, GPS units, etc. are left inside," Champagne said. "Some forced entries do occur, but usually where the perpetrator can see a valuable item to steal inside."

Since Champagne says that so many residents have apparently not gotten word about how important it is to lock vehicles and remove valuables from them, he is making sure they get the message.

"I have dispatched employees of our Special Service Division to canvass the entire parish with a door hanger/flier advising and warning every home of the problem," Champagne said.

He added that the entire parish was covered in a few days.

Vehicle burglaries tend to increase during the summer when teens are off of school. Champagne said that while he believes 99.9 percent of school-aged kids are good kids, there are a small few that have no parental supervision.

"Car break-ins have become a ‘fad’ crime among juvenile delinquents and adult criminals everywhere," he said.

Because of that, Champagne said that his deputies will crack down on any juveniles out past curfew. According to parish law, any minor under the age of 17 is prohibited to drive or play in parks, playgrounds or other public grounds between the hours of 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. The only exceptions are if the minor is accompanied by a parent or guardian, or on an emergency errand directed by his parent or guardian.

"Both minors (under 17) as well as parents can be held responsible," Champagne said. "Be advised that we will be deploying plainclothes deputies out at night to strictly enforce this ordinance."

Fines for violating the ordinance can run as high as $100 and can also mean up to 30 days in jail for any juvenile found breaking curfew. Parents or guardians can receive up to 10 days in jail.

But the vehicle burglaries aren’t limited to teens. Last week, plainclothes detectives and deputies working a task force along the Highway 90 corridor in Boutte and Luling arrested a 48-year-old man in connection with 10 auto burglaries.

According to Champagne, Emmet Thomas was found in possession of items he had just taken from a vehicle in Luling. Detectives say they were able to connect Thomas to nine other burglaries that had occurred over the last couple of weeks at businesses along Highway 90.

"Most of these burglaries were forceful entries of cars parked at hotels, repair shops, etc…where valuables could be seen inside," Champagne said.

View other articles written Jonathan Menard

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