West Jeff. criminals cause local crime surge
Sheriff Greg Champagne cites ‘a disturbing trend’
By Caleb Frey - May 10, 2007
The Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office has arrested three suspects believed to have been involved in a purse snatching in the parking lot of the Wal-Mart in Boutte, Sheriff Greg Champagne said in an e-mail to parish residents.
All three men - who hail from the west bank of Jefferson Parish - were found to be in possession of items belonging to the victim, and in addition to purse-snatching charges, they also stand accused of possessing stolen property.
A woman in her 60s had just left her vehicle to head into the store when she was approached by a black male who told her he had a gun and then snatched the woman’s purse.
This incident, combined with several over the last few months in St. Charles Parish, confirmed what Champagne called a “disturbing trend” of people coming from the west bank of Jefferson Parish, namely Avondale, Marrero and Bridge City, to commit crime in St. Charles.
“The Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office has been faced with an exploding population on the west bank that unfortunately consists of far too many criminals, possibly displaced from the city of New Orleans after Katrina,” Champagne said.
In the same email Champagne sent to citizens about the update in the Wal-Mart robbery, he speaks of a separate unrelated incident that occurred May 4 in which St. Charles deputies were able to arrest four Jefferson Parish men who were burglarizing the cars parked outside a section eight rental complex on Lakewood Drive.
“One was caught in the act,” Champagne said. “And the other three were caught a short time later hiding out in one of the apartments there.”
Champagne said that his department works very closely with the JPSO, who have been very helpful in recent cases involving both parishes, most recently the Wal-Mart burglary.
Champagne said even though the sheriff’s office has increased police presence in response to recent incidents, citizens must remain vigilant and cautious, especially in large parking lots at night.
He said that the Wal-Mart in Boutte does not provide private security or police detail but that his department has stepped up its presence.
“I request that citizens urge Wal-Mart officials to do their part in increasing security on their premises, which sees literally thousands of people come and go every day,” Champagne said. “Nevertheless, we have stepped up our patrols in the Boutte Wal-Mart parking lot.”
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