St. Charles Parish Sheriff Champagne says lock vehicles, remove valuables
On Sept. 20, Sheriff Greg Champagne posted on his Facebook page that there were several attempts to steal automobiles in the Luling, Boutte and Mimosa areas within a 10-day time frame.
Champagne cited five attempted thefts in all. On Sept. 23, he said via another posting that officers had apprehended a suspect they believe could have been linked to all of the attempted break-ins.
“While we are not 100 percent confident that he is responsible for all of the attempted auto thefts, they have stopped at least for now,” Champagne wrote. “We are now waiting on forensic evidence to be examined and the attempted auto thefts remain under active investigation.”
It wasn’t the only wave of automobile-related crime, recently.
In late August, several unlocked vehicles in St. Rose were robbed of the contents inside.
“It comes in spurts,” said St. Charles Sheriff’s Office spokesman Capt. Patrick Yoes. “(The perpetrators) aren’t necessarily from St. Charles Parish. They often come from other areas.”
Yoes explained that often, automobile break-ins and thefts are crimes committed by a person of group “working an area” at a given time and that those targeted areas and neighborhoods vary.
He pointed to a case last year where an auto theft ring in St. Charles Parish targeted Chevrolet trucks and SUVs that were five to 10 years old, in an effort to bring the vehicles to a New Orleans-based “chop shop,” strip them down and sell the vehicles’ parts and engine.
Trucks fitting that description were stolen from Norco, Destrehan and St. Rose over a matter of days at the time.“The thieves are able to enter a locked truck and drive off within a couple of minutes,” said Champagne at the time of the “chop shop” crimes.
St. Charles Parish saw a similar spurt of auto burglaries earlier in the year.
In March, five burglaries were reported in the Hahnville, Luling and Destrehan areas. And in January, four people were arrested in connection with 15 auto burglaries in the Destrehan area.
That said, auto burglaries were reportedly down through the first six months of this year (45) as compared to the same time period in 2014 (49), according to the Sheriff’s Office. The Sheriff has advised that many automobile crimes involved unlocked vehicles, and also that one of the biggest deterrents is to not leave valuables inside a vehicle.