Residents on the West Bank are taking extra precautions after a rash of home burglaries have occurred within miles of each other in less than three weeks. Almost all of the burglaries happened in Luling and one took place in Ama.
The burglars strike during the day and have made off with electronics, jewelry and medication. There have been eight burglaries and three attempted burglaries so far, according to the St. Charles Parish Sheriff’s Office.
In response to the crimes, residents say they are being more vigilant about locking their doors.
"I have been locking my doors and setting my alarm more often than I ever did," Terry Plaisance said. "I don’t like it."
Susan Melanconwiltz, who lives in Luling, said she now uses her deadbolt in addition to her regular lock.
"A relative of mine’s house was one of the attempted ones, but since the deadbolt was locked as well as the regular lock they weren’t able to gain entry," she said.
A few are even arming themselves.
"I lock every door and set (my) alarm. And I have my gun ready," Jennifer Riebow said.
Kim Beard also said she will take action if someone breaks into her home.
"I’m almost bedridden and I will shoot to kill," she said.
Deborah Boudreaux said that while material things can be replaced, the sense of violation lingers. However, she is confident that police will find those responsible.
"Our sheriff is furious, our community is vigilant and I’m confident these criminals will be caught and dealt with," she said.
St. Charles Parish Sheriff Greg Champagne said that the full resources of the Sheriff’s Office are being used to bring the burglaries to an end.
"These burglars are obviously on a tear and so are we," he said. "All available resources are dedicated to this effort."
The first two burglaries occurred during the middle of the day on Friday, May 10. One of the homes was located in the 300 block of Monsanto Drive and the second home was in the 100 block of Lakewood Drive. Both homes were entered via a rear or side door.
Items stolen included a laptop, iPad and jewelry.
Champagne said that his office received a third report of a possible attempted break-in of a townhouse on St. Maria Drive on the same day.
On Monday, May 20, two more homes in Mimosa Park were broken into between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. despite increased patrols in the area. One of the homes was in the 200 block of St. Anthony Street and the other was located in the 300 block of Wanda Street.
On Wednesday, May 23, four homes were broken into, three of which were located on Barton Avenue. There were also two attempted break-ins.
Champagne said the Sheriff’s Office has a possible description of those responsible. Witnesses have said that the burglar is a clean-cut white male wearing slacks and a polo shirt. An accomplice, possibly a female, has been seen with him.
They are reportedly driving a gray or beige car that has been described as a Chevy Volt or Chevy Cruz.
"These burglars pull into the driveway as if they belong there and will do what they do in a few short minutes and leave. They are clearly experienced," Champagne said. "If you see anything or anyone at your neighbor’s home, call 911. Get a license plate number, take a photo and we will stop this together."
Champagne said he has gotten calls from parents who are concerned about their children being at home during the day. He said that the burglars want to slip in and out as quickly as possible and will probably only approach a home without a car in the driveway during the middle of the day.
"If your kids are home and they see anyone pull in a driveway and approach a home in the middle of the day who does not belong, tell them to call 911 and report what they see," Champagne said. "If someone knocks on their door that they do not recognize, tell them to not open the door and tell the visitor ‘daddy is in the shower, he said he will be out in a few minutes.’ Then have them note the description, get a license plate number and call 911."
Anyone with information on the break-ins is asked to call 911 or (985) 783-6807.