12-year-old becomes fourth person arrested in pawn shop burglary, alleged plot to kill police

Police: Burglary at pawn shop part of plot to shoot police officers due to protests
Source: WAFB
Source: WAFB
Source: WAFB
Source: WAFB

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - If viewing this story on a mobile device or in an email, click the link to watch the press conference live - http://bit.ly/29vylRH

UPDATE: Friday, Baton Rouge Police Burglary Detectives, along with ATF agents, were able to identify and apprehend the fourth suspect in a pawn shop burglary where several guns were stolen and the suspects threatened to kill police officers in reference to recent protests.

A 12-year-old male was booked into the Juvenile Detention Center for Simple Burglary and Theft of a Firearm.

Law enforcement released the names of several suspects investigators believed were involved a burglary at a pawn shop that is allegedly part of a larger conspiracy to attack police officers.

Baton Rouge Police say investigators learned at least four men were plotting to violently attack police officers. That alleged plot reportedly began with breaking into the Cash America Pawn Store on Government Street for guns to commit the crimes.

Officers responded to a burglary call on Saturday, July 9, around 2 a.m. Police said that surveillance footage showed the alleged burglars breaking into the business through the roof using a ladder. The suspects are accused of stealing eight handguns as well as one airsoft BB gun.

According to investigators, 17-year-old Antonio Thomas was caught on scene with a handgun and the BB gun. Police say Thomas later allegedly admitted he and three others stole the guns and "were going to get bullets to shoot police." Investigators say no ammunition was recovered, but they do not believe any were reported stolen from the pawn shop.

After receiving this information, BRPD contacted federal investigators for assistance. They say an immediate investigation was launched and they have been actively working the case "around the clock." The investigation is a joint effort between BRPD, Louisiana State Police, East Baton Rouge Sheriff's Office and ATF assigned to the Violent Crimes Unit.

"Look what happened in Dallas. A very peaceful protest and some crazy mad man did what he did. So, I think the threat speaks for itself. We can't take anything for granted anymore," said EBR Sheriff Sid Gautreaux.

Police arrested 20-year-old Malik Bridgewater at his home on Sunday and recovered three of the stolen handguns.

During the initial hearing Friday afternoon, the judge granted Bridgewater be released from federal custody until trial with strict conditions. He cannot leave the 9-parish middle district, will have a 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. curfew, he must wear an ankle monitor, must also seek employment, and must live with his grandmother, but that does not mean Bridgewater will be released from East Baton Rouge Parish Prison anytime soon.

His arrest on July 10 triggered a local judge to revoke his bond for a July 2015 arrest. He is currently being held without bond. Mark Upton, assistant public defender, has been appointed to represent Bridgewater. Assistant U.S. attorney, Jennifer Kleinpeter is prosecuting the case.

On Monday, a raid was conducted at a Baton Rouge home that was connected with this case and a 13-year-old was also arrested in connection with the burglary. However, officers say a fourth suspect in the burglary could possibly still be at large.

Additionally, police are asking if there is a possible fourth suspect, for them to turn himself in. They say the possible fourth suspect has not been named.

Police also arrested 23-year-old Trashone Coats for allegedly buying two of the stolen weapons, but it is unclear if he was connected to the larger plot to attack police.

In all, six of the stolen weapons have been recovered. Police say two are still missing.

Thomas, Bridgewater and the 13-year-old were charged with simple burglary and theft of a firearm. Coats was charged with illegal possession of a stolen firearm.

Thomas, Bridgewater and Coats were booked into parish prison. Coats was released Tuesday. Thomas and Bridgewater remain in jail on a $10,000 bond.

Police say this is the first credible threat among many regarding possible harm to police officers. They say they have also investigated threats and rumors related to protesters. Police Chief Carl Dabadie also said this threat is why the public has seen such a show of force from officers during the ongoing protests and demonstrations around Baton Rouge.

"We have been questioned, repeatedly, over the last several days about our show of force and why we have the tactics that we have," said Dabadie. "Well, this is the reason. We had credible threats against the lives of law enforcement in the city."

Anyone who has any information regarding this case is asked to call Crime Stoppers at (225) 344-7867.

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