As 'jugging' crimes hit SWLA, local law enforcement says to be vigilant

As 'jugging' crimes hit SWLA, local law enforcement says to be vigilant

(KPLC) - With three cases of "jugging" in the last two days, the Lake Charles and Sulphur Police departments say they believe they are connected.

Jugging occurs when burglars watch banks for customers enter empty-handed, then come out with a bank bag or envelope. They then followed the customer's vehicle in the hopes that the customer will stop somewhere and leave the bank bag or envelope in their vehicle. The burglars then break into the vehicle and steal the bag.

Det. Jeremy Cain, with Sulphur police, says the first incident occurred around 9:20 a.m. at the Lowe's on Cities Services Highway around.

A witness saw a man break out a front window in the victim's car.

"He had broken out the driver's side front window of the victim's vehicle," Cain said. "The witness said the suspect jumped inside the vehicle, half his body was hanging out, grabs something out of the vehicle, exited the vehicle, jumped in a car, and left."

Sulphur police spoke to the victim, who says a money bag from a local bank was left in the car and was the item that was stolen.

"We suspected this to be a jugging case," says Cain. "We coordinated with local agencies: Lake Charles Police, Vinton. Let them know that we got this going on. Be on the lookout."

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Cain says after they alerted other local authorities, Lake Charles police said they had a similar incident. As detectives were working to piece information together, Sulphur police received another call about a burglary at a gas station next to Lowe's.

'We were able to identify a vehicle. The vehicle identified at Lowe's was the same vehicle identified at the gas station. We were able to track the vehicle back to Texas."

It is not known at this time if the suspect is also from Texas.

"Southwest Louisiana is growing at a rapid rate," says Cain. "Crime is sure to follow."

Sgt. Jeff Keenum, with the Lake Charles Police, says to avoid being a victim, always be aware of your surroundings.

"It's pretty easy for the suspects to target someone. let's face it. we've all used the ATM. We all go to the bank. You just have to be aware of your surroundings," says Keenum. "I would implore people to be cognoscente of what is going on around you. Pay attention. Complacency leads you to be an easy target."

Both law enforcement agencies say they believe it was the same person who committed all three "jugging" crimes, but no arrests have been made at this time. The investigation is ongoing.

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