Sheriff’s Office seeking information on gunmen who robbed a business in Arabi on Saturday, escaping in a dark-colored two-tone Trailblazer; Call S.O. at (504) 271-2501 or Crimestoppers
Anyone with information should call the St. Bernard Sheriff’s Office at (504) 271-2501 or Crimestoppers at (504) 822-1111 and they could be eligible for a reward if the tip leads to an arrest.
Three men, all carrying guns, entered the business in the 7500 block of West Judge Perez Drive in Arabi at about 10:50 a.m. and demanded money, robbing the store and several customers, Sheriff Pohlmann said.
No one was injured.
A fourth man may have been involved as the driver of the getaway vehicle, a witness said
They fled toward New Orleans in a dark, two-tone sport utility vehicle believed to be a Trailblazer, which may have a brake light out, the sheriff said. It wasn’t known if they left St. Bernard Parish.
Sheriff James Pohlmann says it should be automatic by now for anyone who has lived in this area any length of time: When summer comes, be ready for hurricane season.
The St. Bernard Sheriff’s Office is prepared, the sheriff said.
The department has a plan in place, which includes boats at the ready, a high-water truck that would be ideal for rescue or to haul personnel or equipment to respond to rain events and 50,000 sandbags already made for use by residents, businesses and parish government, Sheriff Pohlmann said.
“We intend to always be prepared for hurricane season,’’ Sheriff Pohlmann said. ““Remember, we are so close to the Gulf of Mexico you can’t ignore hurricane season.”
“Since Hurricane Katrina’s destruction, the parish has been tested by other storms, including Hurricane Gustav in 2008 and Isaac in 2012.,’’ Sheriff Pohlmann said. “We did our best and came through them relatively well. Parish agencies worked well together.’’
Getting ready in advance is the most important thing, the sheriff said.
“That’s true for every family in this parish,’’ he said. “Don’t wait until you hear a bad storm is approaching before you think about being prepared, such as whether or where you would go, if necessary,’’ he said.
“If you start to be prepared now, you avoid the rush at home supply stores and supermarkets which always get crowded and run out of things as hurricanes or tropical storms approach. Don’t wait until the last minute.”
“Give this some thought when you have a chance,’’ the sheriff said. “Think in advance about where you would go if an evacuation is called. Have things like flashlights and batteries, bottled water, medicines in places where you can easily find them if leaving becomes necessary.
“Stock up if possible on things you would have to take if you left or need if you stayed in a storm and lost electricity for more than a day.” Keep personal papers handy that you would want to have.
“Also, anticipate the needs of older relatives and decide what you would do with pets if you had to leave. The Louisiana ASPCA says pet-owners should never leave them behind when they evacuate because the animals would be at the mercy of the storm.
As for the Sheriff’s Office, Sheriff Pohlmann said, besides boats and equipment being tested, plans are in place to move prisoners if necessary. Departments within the Sheriff’s Office have a hurricane plan to follow.
Parish prisoners, using a system developed years ago, make sandbags in preparation for summer, Sheriff Pohlmann said. There are now 50,000 of them stored.
Acquired through a federal grant last year, the Sheriff’s Office’ custom-built F-650 truck, which has a 37-inch lift and air brakes, is an important addition for hurricane season, the sheriff said.
“It’s meant for high-water situations’’ such as street flooding from heavy rains and could be used for rescue and moving personnel and equipment to where they are needed in a storm.”
Also, members of the sheriff’s SWAT team train on various types of boats from the sheriff’s Marine Division in order to be prepared to immediately patrol neighborhoods in case of any type of rain event flooding.
“If parish government orders an evacuation of residents in any approaching storm we will facilitate that and then lock down the parish to prevent non-residents from entering,’’ Sheriff Pohlmann said.
In the event of an ordered evacuation, he said he hopes residents would comply as they did in 2008 in the last time it was necessary because it reduces the need for search and rescue operations if there was actual flooding in a storm, he said.
In an evacuation, the Sheriff’s Office “would quickly return to law enforcement functions, including patrol by boats if necessary, to protect property in the parish,’’ Sheriff Pohlmann said. “We don’t want residents making a bad decision to stay simply out of concern over a possible burglary.’’
He said St. Bernard residents with special needs in the event of an evacuation should register with parish government’s Office of Homeland Security by calling (504) 278-4268 or 278-4468.
Residents can also register for the parish’s FirstCall Emergency Notification Service which provides timely information about hurricanes and other high profile events occurring in the area. These alerts will go to landlines, cell phones, SMS text messaging devices, email and pagers. Residents can now register on line at www.sbpg.net at the bottom of the page.
Early forecasts anticipate this year’s hurricane seaso, which officially runs from June 1 through Oct. 31, may not be as active as some years.
But the sheriff added that it takes only one hurricane to be a bad season if it hits your parish.
If ordered to evacuate, have cash to bring with you and take with you, as well as several complete changes of clothing and footwear per person. Remember family members with special needs such as infants, elderly and disabled persons and pets.
Your disaster preparation list should also include:
• Can opener
• Three-day supply of non-perishable food
• Bedding or sleeping bags
• Fire extinguisher (small canister ABC type)
• Bleach (no lemon or other additives)
• Mosquito repellent
• First Aid kit
• Water (one gallon per person per day)
• Eating utensils
• Tarp, rope, and duct tape
• Toiletries including toilet paper
• Battery-operated radio and extra batteries
For Baby —Formula, diapers, wipes bottles, powdered milk and medications. For Adults —Medicine, such as heart and high blood pressure medication, insulin, prescription drugs, denture needs, contact lenses and supplies and extra eye glasses.
For Pets—ID tag, photo of pet for identification purposes, weeks supply of food, medications, veterinarian’s phone number. Do not leave your pet behind. Transport pets in secure pet carriers and keep pets on leashes. Most emergency shelters do not admit pets. Check with hotels in safe locations and ask if you can bring your pet.
Entertainment —Books for adult readers and for children, board games and/or other games that do not require batteries or electricity. Remember to keep important records in a waterproof, portable container, including:
– Inventory of valuable household goods and important telephone numbers.
– Family records (birth, marriage, death certificates)
– Important papers including insurance account numbers, checks and credit
Theft of two dogs ends with arrest of a man and recovery of the canines, who were reunited with their owner, a St. Bernard firefighter
It was a sad dog’s tale of two Chalmette canines missing, apparently stolen. But it ended happily on Thursday with them reunited with their owner – a parish firefighter – and a man seen driving away with the dogs arrested for felony possession of stolen property.
Sheriff James Pohlmann identified the suspect as Jose Garcia, 25, who was living in the 2900 block of Maureen Lane, Meraux. He was booked into the St. Bernard Parish Prison on the stolen property count. Bond hasn’t been set pending an appearance before a judge.
In an unusual case, the dogs, an English Mastiff named Stella and a Brindle English bull dog named Fi, were reported missing on Sunday, May 25.
Garcia was arrested Thursday after he called the owner’s cell phone number he saw on a flier offering a reward for the dogs and lied to her, saying a neighbor of his had the dogs in his yard on Maureen Lane but he was going to jump a fence and get them back for her.
Sheriff’s deputies found Garcia outside his residence and the dogs were in his house at 2905 Maureen, Sheriff Pohlmann said.
The sheriff said the canines, worth more than $4,000 total, were either stolen from a back yard of a residence on Charles Drive in Chalmette, or got out of the yard themselves, then were taken away off the street by Garcia.
Rebecca Stechmann, a parish firefighter who owns the dogs with her mother, looked for them when she realized they were out of the yard and found a woman down the block who said she spoke to a man who had two dogs in his gray Ford Mustang several minutes earlier.
The witness told sheriff’s deputies the man stopped his car on the street where she was standing and asked her if she owned the dogs inside. When she answered no, the man said he would take them to the parish animal shelter, the witness said.
In the next several days the owners put up reward fliers with pictures of the dogs and listing two cell numbers, while also putting out the same information on social media, Sheriff Pohlmann said.
On Thursday, sheriff’s detectives, following up on the initial reports, had obtained a video from a residence in the area which showed the gray Mustang, with one of the dogs sticking its head out the front passenger window. The video was sent to patrol deputies to be on the lookout for the vehicle, the sheriff said.
About 1:40 p.m. on Thursday, Stechmann called the Sheriff’s Office to report an unknown man had called her, claiming he knew where the missing dogs were – in the yard of a neighbor – and that he was going to get them out if possible.
The man, without giving his name, called her several more times and acknowledged only he was on Maureen Lane, Stechmann said.
Meanwhile, sheriff’s deputies, knowing the description of the car in which the dogs were taken away from Charles Drive, were looking on Maureen Lane for that vehicle, the sheriff said.
When deputies found the car, Garcia was outside and was stopped for questioning. He initially said he had the dogs only a short period of time but eventually admitted he had gotten the dogs on the street on Charles Drive on Sunday and intended to bring them to the animal shelter, but hadn’t.
He was booked with possession of stolen property because the dogs were considered stolen when days passed and there was no good faith effort to bring them to the animal shelter or call the Sheriff’s Office, the sheriff said.
Stechmann said she was on the phone again with Garcia when deputies spotted his car and began questioning him.
She said when she arrived on Maureen to pick up the dogs, “I was almost in tears. They are like family to me.’’ She brought them to her sister’s home and had to return to work, Stechmann said.
“It was just good to get them back and I appreciate the job everyone did to help.’’
St. Bernard government and Lake Borgne Basin Levee District launch flood risk community education and outreach campaign; Open houses set for 3-7 p.m. June 10 at Val Reiss Multi-Purpose Center
St. Bernard Parish government and the Lake Borgne Basin Levee District announced plans to launch a community outreach campaign to educate St. Bernard residents about flood risk and hazard mitigation planning.
The informational campaign will target three areas: safety, flood control and responsibility. The goal of the public awareness campaign is to reduce the risk of loss of life and property due to natural hazards.
Included in the campaign are three community open houses scheduled in St. Bernard Parish to give residents the chance to speak directly with hazard mitigation and floodplain management professionals about protecting your family and property from flood risks.
Open houses will be held from 3:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m. June 10th at the Val Reiss Multi-Purpose Center in Chalmette; June 11th at Docville Farm in Violet; and June 18th at the Los Isleños Heritage and Cultural Society Museum Complex in St. Bernard Village.
Detailed mapping information regarding flood risks associated with living within and outside the levee systems will be available.
Present will be representatives from FEMA, the U.S. Corps of Engineers, the Governor’s Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness, the Southeast Louisiana Flood Protection Agency – East, the Lake Borgne Basin Levee District and the St. Bernard Parish department and agencies which coordinate emergency preparedness.
The St. Bernard – Lake Borgne Basin Levee District information project is being implemented under the guidance of the St. Bernard Parish Hazard Mitigation Grant Program Office of St. Bernard Parish government and is a companion of an ongoing statewide community education and outreach effort.
Michael Hunnicutt, St. Bernard Parish Hazard Mitigation Technical Advisor, said St. Bernard Parish government and the Lake Borgne Basin Levee District have planned and currently oversee $52 million in unprecedented construction and upgrades to the parish’s interior drainage system.
This will result in more efficient and enhanced storm and rain water movement and run-off, he said.
“The Flood Risk: Safety, Control, and Responsibility campaign is a continuation of our effort to reach citizens with important information about flood risk control and management, community resiliency and education and coastal protection and restoration.”
“We want all residents to know their risk, know their role and take action on behalf of their families,” said Hunnicutt, who previously worked for St. Bernard government.
Lake Borgne Basin Levee District Executive Director Nicholas Cali emphasized the importance of being aware and urged citizens to attend the upcoming open houses to learn more about best practices for protecting your family and property against flood risks.
“Hurricanes aren’t the only cause of flooding,’’ cali said. “Anywhere it can rain, it can flood. Learn the elevation level of your home or property, identify levees and coastal waterways to determine flood risk in your neighborhood.’’ He also said people should “put a plan in place for your family in the event a storm or weather event approaches.”
Beginning soon, through the peak hurricane season, flood risk educational materials will be distributed via water bills from parish government and across an email-based information network that residents can sign up for.
Sheriff Pohlmann was guest speaker as five sheriff’s deputies graduated the St. Charles Parish Peace Officers Standards and Training, or P.O.S.T., Academy
Five St. Bernard Parish sheriff’s deputies, three working in the Corrections Division and two in Communications, were graduated Thursday night, May 23, from the Peace Officers Standards and Training, or P.O.S.T., basic police academy at the St. Charles Parish Regional P.O.S.T. Academy.
Graduates from the Sheriff’s Office included Lt. Joshua Correa of the medical staff in St. Bernard Parish Prison; deputies Frank Auderer III and Joseph Bowen; both also of the Corrections Division; and Sgt. Tracy Canino and Dep. Alisha Casbon, both of the Communications Division. Bowen was awarded the Top Gun award for best marksman in the graduating class of more than 20 officers.
Sheriff James Pohlmann was guest speaker in a ceremony held at Destehan High School, telling graduates from seven agencies they must remember to responsibly use the power they exercise over people they deal with as law enforcement officers.
“Your success will be measured not by how many people you arrest but by how many you help,’’ Sheriff Pohlmann said.
He also said police can usually accomplish the same thing by being courteous to the citizens they deal with as by being heavy-handed.
Sheriff Pohlmann looked back on his 31 years in law enforcement, telling graduates there have been enormous changes in technology that helps police, such as computers and weaponry. But he also reminded them technology now makes it possible for inexpensive video cameras to be everywhere, making it likely that much of what they do on the job will be seen.
Police should assume whatever they do in dealing with others may be recorded, he said.
As well as the sheriff, others representing St. Bernard’s Sheriff’s Office at the ceremony included Col. David Mowers, head of the Corrections Division; Maj. David DiMaggio, director of training; Det. Al Clavin, Capt. Adrian Chalona and Dep. Eric Eilers.
The academy includes about 400 hours of training in basic police work including firearms use, criminal investigation, patrol procedure, writing reports, driving training, physical fitness and other areas of police work.
Life Saving Click It or Ticket Mobilization Begins New Orleans Metro Area Kicks Off High Visibility Enforcement May 19, 2014
New Orleans, Louisiana – Local law enforcement agencies throughout the New Orleans metropolitan area will be ramping up enforcement for the Click It or Ticket national campaign. Increased enforcement will begin on May 19, 2014 and run through June 1, 2014. Louisiana law enforcement agencies will be cracking down on unbelted motorists in the metropolitan area.
These efforts are part of a larger, national Click It or Ticket mobilization that runs May 19 – June 1. As motorists take to the roads to celebrate the long Memorial Day weekend, law enforcement officials across the nation will be ensuring that everyone buckles up.
“Memorial Day weekend is always one of the most dangerous holidays to be out on the roads.” said New Orleans Regional Traffic Safety Coalition Co-Chair Clifton Bray. “Everyone involved in traffic safety wants to help increase awareness about the importance of wearing safety belts. With all of the holiday traffic on the roads this weekend, it’s a great time to do that. We want the public to know that wearing a seatbelt will increase your chance of survival in a crash by more than fifty percent.”
“Last year over sixty percent of our traffic fatalities here in Louisiana were comprised of just one fifth of the drivers who don’t wear seat belts.” Mr. Bray said, “What that tells us is that drivers who are unbuckled are putting themselves and others at an unnecessarily high risk, and that’s not good for anyone.”
For more information on the Click It or Ticket mobilization, please visit www.nhtsa.gov/ciot.
St. Bernard sheriff’s deputies, state Wildlife Dept. agents and associates of the Arc center for adults with intellectual disabilities took part in Law Enforcement Torch Run for Special Olympics;
St. Bernard Highway and Jean Lafitte Parkway in Chalmette came alive with spirit on Friday, May 23, during the St. Bernard leg of the Law Enforcement Torch Run for Special Olympics Louisiana.
About 30 deputies from the St. Bernard Parish Sheriff’s Office and agents from the state Wildlife and Fisheries Department participated in the run from the St. Bernard Courthouse, going west on St. Bernard Highway to Jean Lafitte Parkway and north past Judge Perez Drive.
There the group was joined by associates from the ARC Center at 3700 Jean Lafitte Parkway, which provides a support system for intellectually disabled adults from St. Bernard Parish, New Orleans and Plaquemines Parish.
The ARC group walked and rode three-wheel bicycles, with the procession ending at the ARC Center, which is the rebuilt rectory of the old Prince of Peace Catholic Church. The grounds where the church stood is now a large garden where vegetables are grown for sale.
The aim of the Law Enforcement Torch Run is to bring awareness to Special Olympics Louisiana and the State Summer Games held each May in Hammond.
More than $600 for Special Olympics Louisiana was raised in St. Bernard through Friday’s event.
The Law Enforcement Torch Run for Special Olympics was celebrating its 31st year. More than 2,000 law enforcement officers take part statewide.
Sheriff’s Office trying to I.D. two con men who used a quick-cash scheme to confuse a cashier at a convenience store and stole several hundred dollars
The incident happened the night of May 13 at a store in Meraux. Store surveillance cameras showed the suspects got away in a late model Chevrolet Silverado pick-up truck with an extended body and the vehicle had a bed cover. The color of the truck was either light silver, tan or champagne
Anyone with information on the identities of the men should call the St. Bernard Sheriff’s Office at (504) 271-2501.
A store surveillance camera showed one of the suspects appeared to distract a store employee as the other made a small purchase at another register and used a $100 bill to pay for it, the sheriff said.
But after giving the bill, the suspect began to confuse the cashier by asking for it back and started over, going through several transactions of money changes until ultimately he walked away with several hundred dollars of store money, Sheriff Pohlmann said.
The sheriff is also warning other businesses to be aware of con men who try to use quick changes of money at a register to confuse employees and may want to consider a policy of not accepting large bills for small purchases.
St. Bernard heroin operation broken up with eight arrests, including a New Orleans dealer caught distributing and a Chalmette woman who sold to support her habit; Several bags of heroin, $1,499 cash
A heroin operation was broken up in Chalmette with eight arrests in two days following a week-long investigation, including a dealer from New Orleans caught distributing, a Chalmette woman who sold to support her habit and others who were users, Sheriff James Pohlmann said.
Several bags of heroin and a number of needles were seized in the operation, plus $1,499 found on the dealer.
Two of those arrested were a man and woman who both called the dealer separately, not knowing he was in custody after his arrest, and wanted to purchase heroin. Arrangements were made to meet and sheriff’s narcotics officers arrived and booked them with attempted possession of heroin.
Sheriff Pohlmann and Maj. Chad Clark, who heads the Special Investigations Division which includes the Narcotics Unit, said the Sheriff’s Office is battling an upsurge in heroin use like the rest of the New Orleans area that is also an emerging national problem.
The heroin arrests made Wednesday and Tuesday are part of a continuing emphasis on trying to lock up and/or force heroin dealers from the parish.
Joey Corley, 37, 10821 Roger Drive, in New Orleans, was booked Tuesday with heroin distribution after narcotics officers saw him stop his vehicle and make hand-to-hand deliveries to a woman and man, who live at separate addresses on Lloyds Avenue in Chalmette, Sheriff Pohlmann said.
Corley was stopped afterwards by officers, gave consent to a search, and five small bags of a tan-colored powdered substance was located, which tested positive for heroin. Also found was $1,499 in cash.
Corley was booked with distribution of heroin and possession with intent to distribute heroin. He is being held in St. Bernard Parish Prison in lieu of $75,000 bond.
The sheriff when the officers saw Corley they had surveillance set up on the residence of the woman involved, Brandy Brown, 39, also known as Brandy Prosper. She was already a suspect because she had sold heroin to a confidential information recently and the Sheriff’s Office already had a warrant for her arrest on a distribution charge.
The man seen getting heroin from Corley was Randy Alphonso, 43, who lives in an apartment at Lloyds near St. Bernard Highway, the sheriff said.
After his arrest, Corley admitted he had met with the man and woman and “fronted’’ them each $50 bags of heroin, not requiring them to pay at the time.
Also, the two who called Corley’s phone Tuesday while he was in custody to buy $40 each of heroin but were arrested by narcotics officers were identified as Joshua Tretler, 29, of Slidell and Jacklyn Stromain, 36, 3544 Van Cleave, Meraux. Both were booked with attempted possession of the drug.
On Wednesday, narcotics agents executed an arrest warrant for Prosper on a distribution of heroin charge, and a search warrant for her residence and also went to Alphonso’s residence and received permission to search.
Three people were taken into custody at Prosper’s residence after the search turned up a small amount of heroin and numerous needles. Prosper, Calogero Carbello, 42, who lives at 2120 Lloyds with her, and a second man, Robert Allen, 36, who has no permanent address but was staying at the house, were all booked with possession of heroin and possession of drug paraphernalia.
At Alphonso’s residence, he and Christy Paola, 49, were both booked with possession of drug paraphernalia.
All those arrested Wednesday were in St. Bernard Parish Prison pending an appearance before a magistrate judge to have bond set.
Britnie Porte visited her mother, Carrie Meyer, over the weekend and met Monday with Sheriff’s detectives who had been investigating her whereabouts since the missing person report was filed, the sheriff said.
Porte told officers she had been living in Slidell for weeks and heard about media reports that she was being sought.
The mother reported she had last been seen April 29 by a relative.