SLIDELL, LA (WVUE) - Nearly 100 automated teller machines have been burglarized across the New Orleans metro area. Officials say that an "organized group of individuals" was involved in the burglaries, stealing over $500,000 in cash.
In a sophisticated scheme, officers say the suspects would methodically choose a location, trip the alarm systems and conduct counter-surveillance to see how police would respond.
When the suspects felt comfortable - sometimes moths later - authorities say they would designate a lookout and enter the businesses armed with power tools.
In some cases they would defeat the alarms, in others they were able to get in and out of the business within two minutes, police say. Officers say the group would use power tools to crack the safe inside of the business or steal the entire ATM. At times, the suspects would get away with upwards of $20,000 in cash.
On some occasions, police say the suspects would even steal surveillance systems from the business.
On Thursday, officials announced the arrest of two individuals following a multi-jurisdictional investigation. Police say that they have warrants for other suspects in the case, but only two have been arrested so far.
Marvin Hudson, 36, and Allden Jones, 44, were arrested on Sunday morning following a high speed chase with the Slidell Police Department. Officers say the pair was caught in the act burglarizing Cash Cow, located in the 1200 block of Gausse Blvd.
Crews arriving on the scene say they saw Hudson and Jones fleeing the scene. A high-speed chase ensued into New Orleans with Slidell Police, Louisiana State Police and the New Orleans Police Department assisting.
The pair barricaded themselves inside of a residence on Morrison Road in New Orleans East. After a 30 minute standoff, police say the pair surrendered peacefully.
Officers state that the pair refuses to cooperate, but authorities have been able to tie the suspects to several high-dollar burglaries across the New Orleans metro area. More arrests are expected to follow.
"These two criminals made a crucial mistake which led to their capture. They came to Slidell where their luck ran out," Slidell Police Chief Randy Smith said. "When you combine the hundreds of hours between eight law enforcement agencies, you realize just how big this investigation really is. This arrest is just the beginning. When all the investigators sat down to discuss what information each other had, several pieces of the puzzle came together."
Hudson and Jones each face a burglary charge, aggravated flight from an officer and possession of a stolen vehicle. These charges stem from Sunday's incident. Slidell police add that the St. Tammany Parish Sheriff's Office and the New Orleans Police Department currently have active warrants. The Gretna Police Department, Kenner Police Department and St. Bernard Parish Sheriff's Office are expected to file additional charges at a later date.
Hudson and Jones are being held at the St. Tammany Parish Jail.
Departments assisting in the investigation include the FBI, Louisiana State Police, Slidell Police Department, Gretna Police Department, Kenner Police Department, New Orleans Police Department, St. Bernard Parish Sheriff's Office and the St. Tammany Parish Sheriff's Office.