CrimeTracker Investigation: Jefferson Parish burglaries

CrimeTracker Investigation: Jefferson Parish burglaries

NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) - “It still seems like a bad dream, like it didn't really happen,” says Sam Liljeberg.

Neighbors were in disbelief. A father and son were murdered inside their Metairie home.

"I'm just still walking around in a daze," says Miriam Hodges.

"When we arrived on the scene, we noticed that one of the vehicles on the scene had been rifled through. The door was ajar and the glove compartment area was opened," says Jefferson Parish Sheriff Newell Normand.

Normand says detectives also began to notice several vehicle burglaries reported in the neighborhood at around the same time on the night of the killings.

"They were in that area to commit vehicle burglaries. That's what drew them to that area," Normand said.

Neighbors seemed caught off guard. That's because in all of last year, burglars stayed away from the 3700 block of Clifford Drive.

Even along the surrounding streets, there were just a few incidents reported in the Metairie neighborhood. In this special CrimeTracker Investigation, FOX 8 obtained the incident report numbers, locations and time of day for every burglary in unincorporated Jefferson Parish last year.

The colored dots on our map show the number of crimes across the parish, excluding incorporated areas like, Gretna, Westwego, Harahan, Kenner, Grand Isle and Lafitte.

In all, there were 4,000.

"They're brazen. They have no regard for people's lives. They come in and just break into your business and take whatever they think is theirs," says A.J. Gonsoulin.

Gonsoulin says he feels lucky to be alive. The owner of Bon Prix Auto Sales on Airline Drive, Gonsoulin just happened to be in a back room doing paperwork one night, when burglars came busting through his office window.

"It was very scary. I didn't sleep for three months after that," says Gonsoulin.

Audio on his surveillance cameras picks up what sounds like a conversation between the two robbers as they sort through car keys hanging on the wall. They soon notice the camera and one man reaches up and turns it away.

Cameras, though, are everywhere in Gonsoulin's business. They're rolling in his warehouse as the burglars walk into frame. The images are even more scary because you realize that Gonsoulin was in that room.

"I heard some noise, and I came out of the office. I spooked them," says Gonsoulin.

Both men are seen on a different camera, scaling a 12-foot fence to get away. An overview of our map shows burglary incidents scattered throughout the parish, but the crime is more concentrated in some areas.

Take the area between Clearview and Cleary around the I-10. We found 72 burglaries. A rash of car burglaries last August in the 100 to 300 blocks of Metairie Lawn Drive took neighbors aback, especially when they saw the surveillance video .

The suspects had their guns drawn and they targeted unlocked cars in Old Metairie.

"To see them go through my car, and the fact that they had guns is scary. I mean they were in my car, fully in my car rifling through it," says one victim.

More burglaries happened along Veterans Boulevard than any other roadway in the parish. Veterans is primarily a commercial corridor, but burglars aren't targeting businesses. In fact, of the 91 reported burglaries on Veterans, 82 of them were auto burglaries.

On the west bank, the criminals hit a nerve with Carlette Landry.

"It's hard when you work hard for something that's yours, and then somebody is going to come in and just take what you have," says Landry.

She lives at the Emerald Pointe Apartments. Of the close to 4,000 addresses we obtained, deputies visited that apartment complex more than any other, investigating 24 reports.

Landry says thieves stole her table and tablet, and she says burglars broke into her neighbor's apartment.

"This was in the daytime. One of my neighbors told me, 'it happened in the broad daylight,'" says Landry.

In fact, a third of all burglaries in Jefferson Parish are happening between the hours of 7 a.m. and 11 a.m. The criminal are targeting vehicles more than homes or businesses, and in 2014, there were 2,260 car burglaries compared to 1,493 home burglaries.

The sheriff says most car break-ins are preventable.

"Let me reiterate this for about the one millionth time. Lock your cars at night. Do not leave valuables - if you're not going to lock your car - in your car. That's what they're looking for," Normand says.

Burglary victim Gonsoulin says he's done what he can.

"I mean, I have 12-foot fences. I have 16 cameras. I have a security alarm system that goes off, and they still manage to pierce the system, so you tell me," says Gonsoulin.

If you'd like to see what's happening on your street, please click on our CrimeTracker map.

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