LAKE CHARLES, La. (KPLC) -Seven people were arrested this week in connection with ATM thefts in the area. They were said to be members of an outlaw motorcycle gang most people around here had never heard about.
Local law enforcement officers say Brothers East or B*EAST is an outlaw motorcycle gang that started in Channelview, Texas about four years ago.
Calcasieu Sheriff’s gang expert, Captain Robbie Broussard, says Brothers East gang has about 200 members and allegedly engages in mostly property crimes.
“Thefts, motorcycle thefts, firearms and drugs,” says Broussard.
He says they do not have a foothold here and likely never will.
“Through our patrol tactics and through our investigations, if we do find out a gang is in the area, it’s not illegal to be a member of a gang, it’s illegal to be involved in criminal activity they’re involved in. So, we’re going to investigate as thorough as we can and try to root them out before they establish a foothold here,” said Broussard.
Broussard says many law abiding citizens participate in motorcycle clubs. He says the one per cent patch is one way to tell those who are involved in illegal activity and proud of it.
"Back in the sixties William Barrett was part of the American Motorcycle Association and there was some bad media about motorcycle enthusiasts, motorcycle riders. And he came out with a statement that 99% of motorcycle enthusiasts were law abiding citizens and so your outlaw motorcycle gangs began wearing the one per cent patch to state that they weren’t part of that law abiding citizens group,” said Broussard.
He says I-10 has a lot to do with why the Lake Charles area sometimes sees out of town criminals.
"This isn't the first time we've had criminal elements from the Houston area travel over to commit crimes,” said Broussard.
The ATM investigations are still underway to see if those arrested can be connected to any other ATM thefts in our area.