CrimeTracker Investigation: St. Bernard armed robberies and burglaries

CrimeTracker Investigation: St. Bernard armed robberies and burglaries

ST. BERNARD PARISH, LA (WVUE) - "I showed up home around seven in the morning, and the door was kicked in," says Corey Marks.

Marks knew something was wrong when he arrived home last November. Burglars had rummaged through his home, taking just about everything he owned.

"I walked in and the TV was gone. Everything off the shelves was on the floor. I had a safe that was broken into and a couple of thousand dollars was gone. Jewelry was gone, and 14 guns were stolen," Marks says.

He says he felt violated and depressed.

"It was just like starting over again. It's like starting over from Katrina again. Anything worth any value was gone. It was like walking into an empty house," says Marks.

Marks isn't alone. St. Bernard Parish deputies investigated 422 burglaries in 2014. In this special CrimeTracker Investigation, FOX 8 obtained and analyzed every incident report number, date, time and location for all armed robberies and burglaries last year in St. Bernard Parish.

"Property crime is a problem all over. It's driven by drugs. People who are trying to feed a drug habit, and they will break into your car, your home or shed to turn around and sell those stolen goods," says Sheriff Jimmy Pohlmann.

More burglaries happened in Chalmette than anywhere else in St. Bernard Parish. In fact, in 2014, there were 216 burglaries in Chalmette.

"You have Paris Road. That's an inlet, and you see a lot of our auto burglaries being committed by people outside of St. Bernard Parish. What happens is, they'll get dropped off, and when the auto burglaries have been committed, they return to that area to pick them up," Pohlmann says.

Here's how burglaries in Chalmette compare to other parts of the parish. With 216 in Chalmette, there were 94 in Violet, 56 in the town of St. Bernard, 33 in Arabi and 23 burglaries in Meraux.

Thieves are striking more homes than cars. Pohlmann says while cars burglars tend to be from outside of St. Bernard, residential burglars often live in the parish and will target their neighbors and sometimes, their own family.

"Generally, they'll start inside of the home. They steal from their brother, their parents, whoever they can steal from, and then once they're caught in the home, they'll start breaking into the neighbor's house," Pohlmann says.

In Marks' case, he says those arrested lived just down the street from his home.

Businesses are being targeted far less than homes. In 2014, deputies investigated 24 business break-ins.

"The chances increase when you target a business. You'll have to disable the alarm and the video equipment before you could be met with any success," Pohlman says.

Armed robbers struck 14 times last year.

"Most were solved right when they occurred. I know Walgreens got hit, and within four minutes, deputies were entering the building and taking two individuals into custody. Recently, we had an attempted armed robbery at Hoffer's gas station, and a high-speed chase led us to New Orleans East where we apprehended the suspect," Pohlman says.

Twice in 2014, gunmen held up workers at the Dollar General on Paris Road. Other businesses, like Gerald's, The Cash Cow, and the Family Dollar, were also hit.

Deputies also investigated two carjackings, both of which happened only blocks away from each other in Arabi near Judge Perez. One was on Alexander, and the other happened on Schnell.

Investigators say most of those cases are closed, and the suspects were caught.

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