This week's Crime Stoppers is a little different from the ones previous. We're not looking for a killer, this time we're looking for some very brazen thieves. It looks like these thieves have hit more than once, and the most recent time they treated it like a little shopping spree.
Ascension Marina is located on Airline Highway right at the parish line. Need a boat, need a boat motor, need accessories? They've got it all. The only requirement is that you buy it from them. Recently some folks decided to skip that step.
Owner Joel Campanile says, "They did exactly what they did the first time, they went to a back corner of the lot where they weren't very visible."
That's right, these thieves have hit the marina twice. The most recent hit was back on May 2nd, the first one was a few months prior. But even before that one, they've been hit.
"It hasn't been continuous, it comes in spurts. Some people get caught and it ends for awhile," says Campanile.
The thieves cut out an entire section of fence to get in. They had to move a boat that was parked there to get access to the rest of the yard. Then they went shopping, using a boat as a shopping cart. They took the boat around the yard and loaded it down with motors. According to Campanile, they took four of them worth thousands of dollars. A 25 horsepower, 40 horsepower, 60 horsepower and a big 150 horsepower engine.
Lt. Col. Paul Robert says, "It took more than one person to load that large 150 horsepower motor. They did not take the steering cables and connecting lines, so whoever has them is going to be trying to obtain accessory equipment to go with them."
The thieves backed their truck up to the hole in the fence, attached the boat, and drove off. They actually dumped the boat a few miles away and took the motors. After this most recent break-in, the security has been greatly upgraded, including razor wire and a perimeter alarm. Flood lights, cameras, and a new iron fence will be going up as well.
"Really what we have to do is plan ahead, make it so difficult that they don't come here," says Campanile. "But they're going to go someplace else."
That's why this is important to you, they could hit your place next. And even if you don't run a business, this still affects you.
"They steal, everybody makes insurance claims, and premiums go up," says Campanile. So we all get to pay for it.
If you think you can help, call Crime Stoppers at 344-STOP. You can remain anonymous, and you could be eligible for a reward of up to 1,000 dollars.