6 arrested in larceny/burglary ring in multiple parishes, including teens charged in Kenner shooting | Crime/Police
Local law enforcement investigating a series of auto break-ins and thefts in the New Orleans area have arrested six people, including three juveniles, including a 17-year-old accused of staging a shooting with a Kenner resident.
The Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office arrested five of the suspects Thursday at the Oakwood Shopping Center in Terrytown after receiving a tip that stolen credit cards were used in some burglaries at the mall, Sheriff Joseph Lopinto said.
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Lopinto made the announcement Friday during a joint news conference with New Orleans Police Superintendent Shaun Ferguson, Kenner Police Chief Mike Glaser, Plaquemines Township Sheriff Gerald Turlich, and Capt. Donovan Archote, commander of State Police Troop B , known.
Arrests in Oakwood
JPSO arrested Datayna Howard, 20; Mr. Mackey, 19; Teshonda Mercelin, 20; a 16-year-old girl and a 15-year-old boy, Lopinto said.
The group was taken into custody in the mall parking lot while returning to a Volkswagen Atlas that had been reported stolen from New Orleans on January 16. That vehicle has also been linked to other burglary investigations, including cases at police Kenner said.
Inside the vehicle, investigators found cash, firearms, ammunition, stolen credit cards and ID cards, ski masks and glass-breaking tools, Lopinto said.
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One of the weapons recovered by the Sheriff’s Office included a firearm stolen in a car theft in the township of Plaquemines that was reported Sunday night, Turlich said.
“Crime knows no borders,” Lopinto said.
To date, Howard, Mackey and Mercelin have been charged with possession of stolen property, theft, conspiracy to commit bank fraud, conspiracy to commit counterfeiting, conspiracy to commit computer fraud and multiple forgery, bank fraud and computer fraud. Howard also faces multiple gun charges.
Detectives from the various departments work together to track down stolen property and determine what additional crimes may be linked to the suspects, Lopinto said.
In addition to the investigation at the Oakwood mall, authorities have recovered a total of six stolen vehicles reportedly located in Jefferson, Plaquemines and Orleans parishes. They have also uncovered connections to several other crimes, including vehicle thefts on Severn Avenue and an attempted carjacking on Howard Avenue in New Orleans, police said.
Kenner investigators have evidence that two of the suspects arrested Thursday are “associates” of a 17-year-old boy who was allegedly part of a crew who broke into about a dozen vehicles at the Sunlake Apartments in Kenner on January 13, said Lt Michael Cunningham, spokesman for the Kenner Police Department.
Around 1:30 a.m., a male resident at the complex heard his car alarm and went outside to check on his vehicle, Glaser said. The man confronted the group, including the 17-year-old.
At least two people in the group shot at the resident, who was armed and returned fire, according to Glaser. The burglary crew jumped into a 2021 Infiniti QX80 – which had been reported stolen in New Orleans – and gave chase after the fleeing resident, Cunningham said.
Although the stolen SUV crashed into a patio, the armed thieves got out and continued shooting at the resident before dispersing, Cunningham said.
“That just shows you how quickly it can escalate,” Glaser said.
Evidence left at the scene led detectives to the 17-year-old suspect, who was booked this week as the principal culprit in attempted second-degree murder, 11 counts of simple burglary, a juvenile in possession of a gun and as a juvenile a principal of aggravated criminal damage, Cunningham said .
Although the 17-year-old boy knows at least two of the five people arrested at Oakwood Mall, Cunningham says there is no evidence to date that JPSO suspects were involved in the Kenner clash and subsequent shooting.
Lopinto and the other police chiefs urged residents to report thefts and burglaries. The information provided by victims helps investigators connect suspects and seized property to reported crimes, they said.
Authorities believe a small number of people are responsible for the vast majority of burglaries and thefts.
“We need to report every burglary you have so we can match it to these groups and get them off the streets,” Glaser said.