Plaquemine area hit by rash of burglaries

Deidre Cruse

The Iberville Sheriff’s officials think they have solved a rash of car burglaries in the Plaquemine area with the arrest of two men last week, Chief Criminal Deputy Stephen Engolio reported Monday.

The Plaquemine Police filed charges against the same two, plus a third suspect, in connection with car burglaries within the city limits, Capt. Kenneth Payne said.

Juveniles under house arrest and wearing ankle bracelets are suspected in the burglaries of five local businesses, Plaquemine Police Capt. Kenneth Payne confirmed.

The Sheriff’s Office booked Trent Bourgeois of 60185 Bayou Road on 17 counts of vehicle burglaries, while Albert Falcon III was arrested on seven counts of vehicle burglary in connection to Plaquemine area cases outside the city limits, Chief Engolio said.

He said both men are charged with a count each of residential burglary in connection with a break-in last month of a house on Charles Ory Drive, where they are accused of stealing some medicine.

District Judge William C. Dupont set bond at $100,000 for Bourgeois and at $80,000 for Falcon, records show. Both men remained in the Iberville Parish Jail as of Monday.

A day after their arrest, the city police filed additional charges against them four counts of simple burglary against Bourgeois and three counts of simple burglary against Falcon, Payne said. They also arrested John Toups of Baton Rouge on a single burglary count.

Engolio said deputies have been investigating sporadic car burglaries for six months, but recently an informant pointed  them to the suspects.

“There would be several in an area, and you would not hear anything for several weeks,” the chief deputy said. “You could tell by the MO [method of operation] it was the same person doing it, but there was no real connection.”

Burglars took weapons, cash, GPS equipment, radar detectors, cell phones, I-pods, stereo equipment and other items from the cars, Engolio said. Investigators have recovered four of the estimated 10-12 guns stolen from t he cars, along with some of the stereo equipment, he said.

Payne said most of the city cases occurred over the two weeks before the arrests were made, mainly in the Garden District on Labauve Avenue, and Marshall and Elm streets.

“It appears that when they do hit a vehicle, it was someone they knew and they knew the items were there,” the captain said. “In some cases, they had conversations with the victims about items in the vehicle” under the guise of interest in purchasing similar equipment for themselves.

Payne said the city police have recovered most of the stolen equipment, with the exception of the firearms.

Reportedly, the stolen firearms were dumped onto the river or surrounding areas, both officers said.

Meanwhile, the city police have been investigating four break-ins at insurance offices and a contractor’s office in Plaquemine have been robbed since the Christmas holidays, the captain said.

The burglars have kicked in the doors of the offices, he said. In one instance, he said, they took money box with a small amount of cash.

Earlier this month, the city police arrested two men in the break-ins of the local law offices of Canova and Delahaye (City Attorney L. Phillip Canova Jr. and Assistant District Attorney Lou Delahaye) and of Dana Larpenter, which Payne said are thought to be separate cases from the insurance company burglaries. The suspects in those cases were caught in possession of equipment taken from the offices, the captain alleged.

Payne said he had spoken to Mayor Mark A. “Tony” Gulotta and Police Chief Orian Gulotta about putting together a safety course for local business owners.