Car burglary rash prompts sheriff warning

A rash of car burglaries in St. Charles Parish last week prompted Sheriff Greg Champagne to take to his Facebook page to warn area residents to lock up their vehicles or join a growing list of victims.

Champagne noted that four unlocked vehicles were burglarized in Montz between the night of Jan. 23 and morning of Jan. 24, and that at least six more vehicles were entered in Destrehan the night of Jan. 25 and morning of Jan. 26. One of those vehicles was stolen because the keys were left inside, he said. Arrests have been made in connection to the first four auto burglaries.

Champagne also noted a news conference held Jan. 23 in which all sheriffs and police chiefs in the metro New Orleans area gathered to urge the public to lock up their cars at night and to remove valuables in response to other burglaries that have happened recently.

“Unfortunately, it appears everyone is apparently not getting the message,” Champagne said via his Facebook page. “Either everyone is not getting the lock it up message or some of our residents don’t believe it will happen to them.”

Champagne added that he planned to send out a written letter to all residents to ensure that “everyone gets the message and understands this problem.”

“This is the most preventable of all crimes we experience,” Champagne said. “When thieves are successful such as they were last night, it will only encourage them or others to repeat the crime. I think it is flattering that so many of our residents feel so safe that they fail to lock their vehicles. However, as I have said over and over, sooner or later, it will happen to you.”

There were 183 reported vehicle burglaries in St. Charles Parish last year in which the vehicle was reported to be unlocked. Just 15 vehicles of the total of 198 were reported locked, according to St. Charles Parish Sheriff’s Office spokesman Capt. Pat Yoes.

Yoes added of the total 183 unlocked vehicles, there were 38 reported stolen firearms. The total reported sum value from victims of all property stolen from those 183 vehicles equaled $46,400, he said.

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