Alleged mall muggers caught by police

June 15, 2007
By Theresa Schmidt

It was a terrifying ordeal for a 55 year old woman carrying her two year old grandson, with her five year old granddaughter trailing behind,  as she walked from the food court at Prien Lake Mall to her car. Lake Charles Police Chief Don Dixon says she was approached by two men. "One of them asked her for a cigarette and basically she responded she didn't have a cigarette and the other black male hit her and knocked her down, hit her in the face area, as she was holding the two year old and knocked her down. And they end up taking, what they thought was a purse, but it turned out to be a diaper bag."

Luckily neither the woman or the children were physically hurt. Still it's scary for people who wonder if it's safe anywhere.  Says concerned citizen Emily White, "I think that's just too sad that something would go on like that and someone would be so bold to do it right in front of everybody."  Others, like Tim Cassia, worry about family members. "My wife, she's afraid to go to a place like that, even in broad daylight without a friend or parking up close where she can get out quickly. I'm afraid for my daughters."

However in this case,  Dixon says alert witnesses and a good vehicle description helped them shut down the get away car on Broad street just four hours after the robbery.   All three suspects were in a recently purchased 2007 Cadillac with a temporary tag.  The suspects are cousins:  20 year old Derrick Alexander and 25 year old Christopher Ray Alexander booked for second degree robbery and driver 19 year old Vong Douangboupha--also booked for attempted second degree murder.  Explains Dixon, "As they were leaving the mall they almost ran over an employee of the mall."

Dixon credits the mall with having good security and implementing their recommendations. Still, he urges citizens to be alert and cautious wherever they are.

All 3 suspects are still in jail. The Alexanders' bond is $500,000 while Douangboupha's bond is set at $650,000.

A Prien Lake Mall spokesman says their primary concern is always for the safety of customers and mall employees and that their thoughts are with the victim and her family.  Mall officials also say they are working closely with police on the security issue.