Suspect in eastern New Orleans business burglary arrested after pursuit in Chalmette and his brother, an escapee from Alabama, was also caught

Posted: April 29th, 2015 | Filed under: News Releases
Matthew Belk, New Orleans burglary suspect arrestedi n Chalmette  pursuit.

Matthew Belk, New Orleans burglary suspect arrestedi n Chalmette pursuit.

James Belk, brother of Matthew Belk, arrested as an escapee from Alabama

James Belk, brother of Matthew Belk, arrested as an escapee from Alabama

St. Bernard Parish sheriff’s deputies, acting on information that a suspect in an eastern New Orleans business burglary was staying in Arabi, caught the man after a pursuit in which his vehicle struck three sheriff’s patrol cars but didn’t injure anyone, Sheriff James Pohlmann.

Along with the burglary suspect, Matthew Belk, 25, Belk’s brother, James Belk, 22, an escapee from custody in Marion County, Ala., since mid-April, was also arrested with a woman James Belk was with when found.

Matthew Belk, who fled in a vehicle when deputies closed in on him in Chalmette late Tuesday afternoon, struck three sheriff’s cars before he was caught at LaPlace Drive, near East Law Street. He was examined at St. Bernard Parish Hospital after the crashes, then upon release was booked into St. Bernard Parish Prison.

He is being held in lieu of $250,000 bond set Wednesday.
Matthew Belk was booked with aggravated flight from officers, three counts of aggravated criminal damage to sheriff’s patrol cars, aggravated assault, accessory after the fact to harboring a fugitive, who was his brother, James; numerous traffic charges, and was also held on arrest warrants from New Orleans for simple burglary and illegal use of a movable.

Matthew Belk is wanted in New Orleans in connection with the recent burglary of an eastern New Orleans seafood business owned by St. Bernard Parish residents, authorities said.

Agents of the Sheriff’s Office Special Investigations Division received information that Matthew Belk was in St. Bernard Parish, the sheriff said.

While looking for Matthew Belk, agents found James Belk, of Guin, Ala., who was arrested mid-day Tuesday while walking on Patricia Street in Chalmette near Valor Drive with a friend, Nora Rizzuto, 26, 1405 Alexander St., Arabi. Matthew Belk allegedly had been staying with Rizzuto.

When approached, both James Belk and Rizzuto said he was Matthew Belk, Sheriff Pohlmann said. James Belk presented officers a Social Security card in the name of Matthew Belk. After receiving a photo of Matthew Belk, officers again confronted James Belk who eventually acknowledged his correct identity, the sheriff said.

James Belk admitted he had been on the run for weeks from Marion County, Ala., after escaping from a sheriff’s deputy while in handcuffs. Belk is wanted there on numerous warrants including escape, theft and receiving stolen property.

James Belk was booked with resisting officers and with being a fugitive from Alabama. He is being held in St. Bernard Parish Prison awaiting extradition to Alabama.

Rizzuto was booked with being an accessory after the fact to aiding and harboring a fugitive, James Belk. She is also being held in St. Bernard Parish Prison and no bond has been set.

After finding James Belk and Rizzuto, agents received information regarding Matthew Belk’s whereabouts in Chalmette. Agents set up surveillance and saw Matthew Belk in a vehicle but he wouldn’t stop and led deputies on a pursuit that included intentionally striking police cars before he was stopped and had to be removed from his vehicle, the sheriff said.