LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) -They have already done a half million dollars worth of damage--the smash and grab bandits that have hit a growing number of businesses in Calcasieu Parish. Law enforcement officials ask people to pay special attention to newly released video to try to help solve the crimes.
Since December 24th there have been 9 smash n grabs in Calcasieu Parish and there seems to be no end in sight. This one is from January 21 at Bayou Landing in Carlyss. More often than not the culprits are using trucks to make their entry--trucks stolen from people who have not yet noticed them missing. Explains Sheriff Tony Mancuso, "The people are generally asleep and they don't realize the vehicles are stolen so we're not able as a police department to run a plate of a vehicle we see leaving. If we just see a vehicle leaving and we decide to run a plate it's not going to come back stolen because the people haven't realized the vehicle was stolen yet."
In the process of breaking into the stores they are doing tremendous damage. Says Mancuso: "Besides what's been stolen about a half million dollars in damages have been done to these stores. So this is costing the owners of these convenience stores and the stolen vehicles."
The last two stores hit are Fisherman's Headquarters in Carlyss and the The Store between Sulphur and DeQuincy. The bandits seem to be choosing stores in rural areas where there's less chance of being seen or heard. Sheriff Tony Mancuso asks everyone to be alert and report anything that might help them catch those involved. "They see the video, they see what they're wearing. If somebody knows of these individuals wearing similar clothing in the last 24 hours and can give us those names that would be helpful. Most of the time they're wearing light and dark hoodies. In some cases they've pulled the shirt over the back of their head and used a bandana or some type of cloth to cover their face. We got a guy who's got no job, really no means to go buy cigarettes and stuff and all of a sudden he's got a couple cartons of cigarettes then there's a good chance he could be a good suspect for us."