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Thefts, burglaries caused crime to spike 5.7 percent in 2011

By Jonathan Menard -   Feb 02, 2012

Due to a large jump in the number of reported burglaries and thefts, crime in St. Charles Parish rose by 5.7 percent in 2011 when compared to 2010, according to the St. Charles Parish Sheriff’s Office.

Overall, the number of reported crimes increased from 2,313 to 2,445. The majority of that increase was due to a rise in the number of burglaries and thefts. Thefts rose by 103, while burglaries increased by 83.

"We continue to try and educate residents of ways to decrease vulnerability to crime. Unfortunately, the vast majority of vehicle burglaries are the result of unsecured vehicles with valuables in plain view," Sheriff Greg Champagne said. "In addition, vehicle burglaries are more likely to occur in clusters with multiple victims."

In addition to increases in the number of thefts and burglaries, there were also six more robberies in 2011 when compared to 2010.

Other major crime statistics either stayed the same or fell considerably.

There were drops in the number of reported rapes (from 7 to 4), assaults (from 866 to 813) and auto thefts (from 88 to 84).

There were three murders in both 2011 and 2010, including a pair of murder/suicides last year.

An 88-year-old double amputee, Ophelia Shepard, was killed in St. Rose in February after a man set her home on fire. Toby Beasley pled guilty to manslaughter in connection with Shepard’s death and received a 40-year sentence.

A St. Charles Parish teacher was also murdered last January. Fenisha Charles, 38, and her husband, Carroll Charles, 40, were both found lying on their bedroom floor by their 15-year-old daughter.

The daughter told authorities that she was sleeping when she awoke to the sound of gunshots.

The St. Charles Parish Sheriff’s Office said that the couple were experiencing marital problems and that Carroll shot his wife twice before turning the gun on himself.

Two people were also killed in what police called a murder/suicide that took place in Des Allemands last May.

Deputies with the St. Charles Parish Sheriff’s Office responded to a homicide call at 9:30 p.m. on Meyers Lane where they found the body of a 25-year-old woman who appeared to have suffered a gunshot wound to the head and chest, according to authorities.

Officers identified the woman as Santana Marshall and she was pronounced dead at the scene.

A witness told police that 39-year-old Curry Lewis, of Hahnville, had shown up at Marshall’s residence and ordered her out of her vehicle at gunpoint as soon as she pulled into the driveway.

Police say that Lewis shot Marshall two times before fleeing in her vehicle. Lewis was later found dead of self-inflicted gunshot wounds.

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