Two Chalmette men and two juvenile boys have been arrested in a car theft and auto burglary ring in which three vehicles were recovered, with a fourth found set on fire in New Orleans, Sheriff James Pohlmann said. Various items found on the individuals which were believed stolen in the car burglaries also were recovered.
Joseph Lefebvre,17, 2305 Gallant Drive, and Da’Shawn Lynch, 20, 8413 Livingston Ave., were both arrested along with a 15-year-old Chalmette boy and a 16-year-old boy from Arabi, on Jan. 26. All four were arrested after they were joy riding in a vehicle that was reported stolen in Chalmette, Sheriff Pohlmann said.
The four were all booked with nine counts of burglary of autos. Additionally, Lefebvre and the 16 year old were booked four counts of theft of vehicles, and Lynch and the 15 year old were booked with two counts of theft of vehicles.
Several items were recovered that were believed to have been stolen by these individuals, including a .25-caliber handgun, which one of the arrested subjects said they stole from a vehicle. Owners of the stolen items, including the gun, haven’t been identified.
As of Jan. 30, the two adults are in St. Bernard Parish Prison awaiting bond, and the teenagers are being held in St. Bernard Parish Juvenile Detention Center.
A mother and her boyfriend were arrested for severely beating her 12-year-old son with a belt for hiding snacks in his pillowcase, Sheriff James Pohlmann said.
On Jan. 27 at around 6:30 p.m., Sheriff Pohlmann said deputies responded to a call about a young boy screaming.
The boy’s mother, Lakeesha Allen, 34, and her boyfriend, Anthony Young Jr., 31, both of 80 Jupiter Circle in Violet, were both booked with cruelty to a juvenile. As of Jan. 30, both Allen and Young were being held in St. Bernard Parish Prison awaiting bond to be set.
Sheriff Pohlmann said the boy, who suffered injuries to his face, neck, chest, back, legs, and arms, was transported to St. Bernard Parish Hospital where he was treated and released. The boy is now staying with a family member.
Both the mother and the boyfriend admitted under questioning they had beaten the child with a belt over him hiding snacks.
Sheriff Pohlmann said a call was received just after 10 p.m. Jan. 24 night about a disturbance in the 1900 block of Seelos Court in Chalmette.
According to Pohlmann, a female who lives at the residence said she and her boyfriend, whom she identified as Lee White, a 29-year-old male, had gotten into a verbal altercation earlier that evening. The victim also stated that following the argument, White removed an air conditioning unit from a window in an effort to gain access to the dwelling the two share. Once inside, the victim said White struck her on the left side of her head with an open hand and left with $200 in cash and an ATM card belonging to her.
White was not at the residence when deputies arrived so no arrest was made at the time.
Just a few hours later, around 3 a.m. on Jan. 25, Pohlmann said deputies were once again summoned to the residence upon White’s return at which time officers transported him to St. Bernard Parish Jail to be booked.
As of Jan. 26, White was being held in lieu of a $2,500 bond.
Natasha Handy, 28, was reported missing by her mother, Catina Handy, who said her daughter has been diagnosed with psychiatric disorders.
The mother also said she has received reports that the daughter was seen Jan. 12 walking westbound on Judge Perez Drive in Chalmette and may have been seen in Gretna on Jan. 17.
Anyone with information on the whereabouts of Natasha Handy should call Catina Handy at (504) 287-1297 or the St. Bernard Parish Sheriff’s Office at (504) 271-2501.
Capt. Charles Borchers tells conference on Stalking Awareness avoiding crime to be aware of their surroundings when going about and he listed tips for avoiding becoming a crime victim
“There is sometimes a little voice in your head that tells you not to do something or don’t go to a certain place because it may be dangerous,’’ Borchers told a conference co-hosted Jan. 18 by the St. Bernard Battered Women’s Shelter and the Metropolitan Center for Women and Children.
“When I have listened to that little voice I have stayed out of trouble,’’ Borchers said.
It was one of many common sense ideas for safety that Borchers spoke about.
Borchers, who each December gives a Sheriff’s Office class called “Refuse to be a Victim,” gave advice on what type locks, lighting timers and alarms to use at homes and businesses.
He recommends double cylinder deadbolt locks and the use of heavy screws in door frames to keep a door from being easily kicked in. He also likes peepholes on residential doors, with wide-angle views to see who is outside bearby. He also recommends strong residential door chains.
Another common sense idea, Borchers said, comes in if you are driving alone and the vehicle develops problems forcing you to pull off the road. You should have a cell phone to call someone for help, then move over to the passenger seat to wait for it.
“This creates the impression someone is with you and may be right back,’’ Borchers said. “It creates some doubt’’ in the mind of a passer-by who may be tempted to hassle you or do worse, he said.
Also, people often walk while talking on cell phones or carrying packages and giving little thought to whether they are vulnerable, he said. You should walk with a purpose and be aware of your surroundings.
If leaving a business at night it’s a good idea to give a quick walk around your vehicle, checking through windows at the front and back seats before getting in. It could save you from getting in and finding someone waiting to rob you, he said.
At homes, stick-on alarms on windows can create a very loud noise if someone tries to get in, alerting you or, if you aren’t home, alerting neighbors who may call the Sheriff’s Office.
Would-be burglars or thieves don’t want noise, light or anything that slows them down such as dogs or locked gates, Borchers said. “They will usually go somewhere else.’’
Borchers can be reached at (504) 278-7628 for information on all free classes the Sheriff’s Office holds for the public.
Gail Gowland, head of the St. Bernard Battered Women’s Shelter in Chalmette, said the aim of the one-day conference was to “bring awareness about the problem of stalking and technology used today by people to stalk victims,’’ as well as to give tips to stay safe from crime in general.
Stalking often grows out of domestic cases, Gowland said, and women living at the Battered Women’s Shelter have sometimes been victims.
Ronald Rickmon, 54, 7612 West Judge Perez Drive, was arrested Jan. 13 after a witness saw him beating on the business doors and window with a wholly or partially yellow-colored hammer or crowbar, the sheriff said.
A hammer with a yellow handle was found during a search of Rickmon’s residence, which he consented to, Sheriff Pohlmann said.
Rickmon was booked into St. Bernard Parish Prison and has been released on $16,000 bond.
Portion of East St. Bernard Highway at Violet closed for several hours because of an accident involving a fire
A portion of East St. Bernard Highway at Violet was expected to be closed for several hours Thursday because of an accident involving two trucks which caused a fire requiring clean-up, Sheriff James Pohlmann said.
The Sheriff Office is re-routing traffic for a half-mile section of the road between Meraux Lane and Valmar Drive.
State Police is handling the investigation of the crash between two trucks which resulted in the fire, the sheriff said.
Slidell man booked with sexual abuse of young Chalmette girl which happened in the early 2000s; Authorities trying to determine if there are other victims in several states where the man has lived
Timothy Gemelli, 54, who lived at 2413 Fazzio Drive in Chalmette at the time of the sexual abuse, the sheriff said, is being held in St. Bernard Parish Prison in lieu of bond set at $400,000,
The Sheriff’s Office has not released details of the investigation that led to Gemelli’s arrest.
But efforts are being made by Sheriff’s Office detectives to determine if there were victims in other places where Gemelli has lived, which included Colorado, Massachusetts, Texas, Mississippi and in Slidell, Sheriff Pohlmann said.
Several women who were girls at the time Gemelli lived in Colorado were expected to meet with authorities in a town there, Sheriff Pohlmann said.
Gemelli has lived in Longmont and Firestone in Colorado; Chicopee, Mass.; Picayune, Ms.,; Harris County, Tex., and Slidell.
Gemelli was booked with indecent behavior with a juvenile girl in St. Bernard Parish in 1981 and was credited with time served and placed on probation after a guilty plea, the sheriff said.
He also was arrested for aggravated battery in St. Bernard Parish in 1982 after shooting a woman, who survived, the sheriff said, and received a suspended sentence after pleading guilty to negligent injury.
Anyone with information about other possible sex abuse cases involving Gemelli should call the St. Bernard Parish Sheriff’s Office at (504) 271-2501 or Crimestoppers at (504) 822-1111.
Sheriff’s Office D.A.R.E. program instructors receive Kiwanis Club Life-Saver Award for their work with fifth-graders, stressing self-respect and avoiding drugs and violence
For the last eight years, Lt. Lisa Jackson and Sgt. Darrin Miller have worked with more than 600 fifth-graders each school year – in every St. Bernard public and private school – with the aim of saving kids from a life of drug addiction, crime committed to get money for drugs and a probable prison term, if not death.
For the work they do, Jackson and Miller, veteran sheriff’s deputies who teach the Drug Abuse Resistance Education, or D.A.R.E., program in schools, were given this quarter’s St. Bernard Kiwanis Club Life-Saver Award on Jan. 17
“We give them (students) the tools to make good choices,’’ said Jackson, commander of the D.A.R.E. program in schools and a deputy since 1992. And in case kids may find themselves in bad situations, she said, “we discuss strategies to help them get out.’’
Miller, a deputy since 1993, said,“We tell them to be responsible. If they are responsible for their actions they can avoid trouble.”
Sam Catalanotto, chairman of the Life-Saver Award Committee, and Kiwanis Club President Amanda Hardesty participated in the ceremony, along with Sheriff James Pohlmann, Chief Deputy Sheriff Richard Baumy and Col. Robert McNab.
Catalanotto said the Life-Saver Award, given twice a year to sheriff’s deputies and twice to firefighters, was started to honor first-responders who make significant contributions to the parish.
Sheriff Pohlmann, who revived the D.A.R.E. program in 2009 after it was dormant for years following Hurricane Katrina, said he wanted students at a young age to receive information to help them make good choices in avoiding future problems.
D.A.R.E. is aimed at instilling self-respect in children and providing them with facts to help avoid the use of illegal drugs, not indulge in alcohol or tobacco at a young age and swear off bullying others or resorting to violence.
Jackson and Miller both had experience dealing with the problems of children from when they worked in the parish Juvenile Detention Center.
Both say they believe many of the children retain what they are taught, based on conversations they have had with past students.
Sheriff Pohlmann told the Kiwanis Club members that Jackson and Miller “do a wonderful job.’’
“If they save one child’s life or one family from the despair of a child’s drug addiction they’ve done a good job.’’
Suspect wanted in St. Bernard attempted murder surrenders after a standoff in Algiers with New Orleans S.W.A.T. officers
A Jan. 13 standoff between New Orleans authorities and a suspect sought by the St. Bernard Parish Sheriff’s Office for attempted murder ended with the man surrendering after barricading himself in an Algiers apartment, bringing S.W.A.T. officers to the scene, New Orleans police said.
Keron Cooper, 27, was wanted on warrants alleging four counts of attempted murder in St. Bernard, Sheriff James Pohlmann said. That stemmed from a Nov. 23 incident when Cooper is accused of shooting at four people outside a home in the 3300 block of Shannon Drive in Violet.
No one was hit in that incident. A man who was the apparent target identified Cooper as the one who got out of a car and fired several shots before fleeing in the vehicle.
Cooper was also wanted in New Orleans after he failed to appear for a court date involving an attempted murder charge in the city.
NOPD said the Algiers standoff began shortly before 9 a.m. after U.S. marshals, acting on a tip, attempted to serve warrants on the man in the 5700 block of Tullis Drive.
Nearly two hours later the barricade continued, with NOPD SWAT officers stationed nearby in armored cars. Cooper finally surrendered and was jailed in New Orleans.