Poached credit card leads police to stolen trucks
Police used this image to track down a man they say stole a truck from St. Rose.
Donnell Miner, 32, was caught on camera using the stolen credit card at a Waffle House in New Orleans. In surveillance pictures released by the St. Charles Parish Sheriff’s Office, Miner is seen looking at his cell phone while waiting for his order. He then faces the camera, carrying a bag of food and two drinks.
The credit card police say Miner used that day was taken from a Chevy Silverado that was stolen from St. Rose last week.
A day after the truck was stolen, St. Charles Parish investigators discovered that a credit card left inside the truck was used at a Waffle House, which led to Miner’s arrest.
When police tracked Miner to his home in the Desire Housing Projects in New Orleans, they say they found the truck stolen from St. Rose in addition to a truck stolen from the parish two weeks ago.
Several Chevrolet and GMC trucks had been stolen from St. Charles Parish in the last month. Champagne said that the theft of similar trucks has been on the rise in the New Orleans Metro area since the beginning of the year.
Sgt. Dwayne LaGrange, spokesman for the Sheriff’s Office, says detectives believe that Miner could have been involved in several truck thefts that took place in St. Charles.
“We are still looking into other cases that he may be responsible for,” LaGrange said. “We are actively investigating every lead.”
Miner is currently charged with two counts of theft of a motor vehicle over $1,500 and unauthorized use of an access card. In addition to the vehicles, he is charged with the theft of a 4-wheeler and a tailgate.
Sheriff Greg Champagne said that there is a vibrant black market with chop shops for used vehicle parts and engines. Even the scrap metal from the stolen vehicles is being crushed.
“These thieves know what they are doing and in many cases are able to get into a car, start it without the keys and drive off in mere minutes,” he said.
Champagne said his office recently met with investigators from around the metro area to discuss the regional auto thefts.
“While it seems mostly Chevy and GMC trucks have been the prime targets, other models are being stolen throughout the New Orleans area. Various strategies were discussed to combat this problem among the agencies present, which we will be implementing,” Champagne said.
In the meantime, Champagne said residents need to be vigilant.
“If you spot anyone cruising neighborhoods in the early morning hours (midnight to 4 a.m.) please note the descriptions, license plates, if possible, then call 911,” he said.
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Communication has often been cited as a key issue when it comes to making sure the parish council, the parish president and the many parish departments work together efficiently and effectively. If elected, what will you institute to ensure good communication between parish governmental agencies?