Car thieves steal at least 7 vehicles overnight in St. Bernard Parish

Published: Nov. 14, 2023 at 10:49 PM CST
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CHALMETTE, La. (WVUE) - From Chalmette to Violet, car thieves were busy overnight Monday into Tuesday morning (Nov. 14), stealing at least seven cars from several different neighborhoods in St. Bernard Parish.

Now, the sheriff says investigators are looking into a ring of car thieves believed to be from New Orleans.

A couple that woke up Tuesday to find two vehicles missing from their driveway told Fox 8 the incident has left them shaken.

“I was in my room and (my husband) came outside and came back and said the cars were gone,” said the Chalmette woman who requested anonymity. “To our surprise, both of the vehicles were missing.”

The couple has lived on Despaux Drive in Chalmette for more than a decade. They said they didn’t hear a thing as car thieves took off with their GMC Denali pickup truck and a Lincoln Aviator SUV parked outside their home.

“It was pretty devastating, because we’re ready to go to school,” she said. “And to come out to your vehicles, where you think you’re safe, to find both of them missing, it was definitely unpleasant.

“It’s hard for this parish to stop crime in other parishes and cities. It’s just all it is. If they don’t start doing something with the crime in New Orleans, it’s going to keep pouring out into the other parishes.”

Deputies with the St. Bernard Parish Sheriff’s Office tracked the vehicles, with a deputy spotting the truck in New Orleans East. The victim said she had a tracker in her SUV which helped law enforcement in the search.

“It’s mind-blowing, actually,” her husband said. “It’s the second time it happened to us at this house. So, it’s definitely a problem that has to be addressed.”

St. Bernard Sheriff Jimmy Pohlmann said the thieves also took vehicles from other neighborhoods in the parish, including Nancy Drive and Fable Drive in Meraux, and Moss Lane in Violet. In total, he said the thieves made off with at least seven vehicles, two of which have been recovered.

“Throughout the early morning hours, the auto thefts continued. We believe it’s the same crew operating from New Orleans East,” Pohlmann said. “They were able to come into the parish undetected, from what we understand. And it looks like they would take two cars at a time, move ‘em back out to New Orleans, return with their crew.”

He said his deputies are working alongside the New Orleans Police Department, the Louisiana State Police and a task force with the FBI to solve the crimes. The team was monitoring some suspects throughout the day, with authorities even starting on high-speed chases twice before cutting them short because of hazardous weather conditions.

“We suspect the vehicles they used were stolen vehicles, maybe not from St. Bernard but definitely from the metropolitan area,” Pohlmann said. “We know these crews have been working hard in the metropolitan area.”

But Pohlmann said his investigators are working harder.

“The message to the criminals: You’re coming into the wrong parish. Because I promise you, you’re going to get caught. We’ll be waiting for you and when you come down, we’re going to catch you.”

No arrests have been made. If you have information that could help investigators, you’re urged to call the St. Bernard Sheriff’s Office at (504) 271-2501, the Criminal Investigations Bureau’s tip hotline at (504) 271-TIPS or 8477, or Crimestoppers at (504) 822-1111.

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