LAKE CHARLES, La. (KPLC) - Two brazen attempts to steal ATMs from Westlake banks are the work of a Texas motorcycle gang, authorities said.
Five people have been arrested and two are wanted, Calcasieu Parish Sheriff Tony Mancuso said at a news conference Tuesday morning.
A total of $150,000 was taken from the ATMs.
Mancuso said the suspects are members of the B*EAST (Brothers East) motorcycle gang.
All seven suspects face the following counts: Theft of a motor vehicle over $25,000; theft of a motor vehicle $5,000 to $25,000; 2 counts of simple criminal damage to property $1,000 to $25,000; theft less than $5,000 over $1,000; 2 counts of unauthorized use of a motor vehicle; obstruction of justice; simple arson; 3 counts of criminal trespassing; 4 counts of unauthorized entry of a place of business; 4 counts of theft over $25,000; 4 counts of simple criminal damage to property; unauthorized entry of a critical infrastructure; and racketeering.
- Melvin Cupp, 46, Spring, Texas (outstanding warrant).
- Joshua Leroy Fontenot, 44, Denham Springs, LA (outstanding warrant)
- Brandon Hightower, 33, Humble, Texas
- Hosea Owens IV, 28, Alvin, Texas
- Christopher Scott, 44, Lake Jackson, Texas
- James Hicks, 33, Huffman, Texas
- Faith Breaux, 27, Beaumont, Texas
The five were arrested in Texas on Sept. 23. Judge David Ritchie set Breaux’s bond at $263,000 and all other bonds at $600,000.
One bank was hit on July 13, then another on Aug. 3.
The Sheriff’s Office asks anyone with information on Cupp and Fontenot’s whereabouts to call the Sheriff’s Office at 337-491-3605 or Crime Stoppers at 337-439-2222.
In the first, a truck stolen from Westlake waterworks and a forklift stolen from Family Dollar were used to steal the ATM from First Federal Bank. The forklift was used to load the ATM into a truck. The truck, with the ATM still in the bed, was located later that day near State and Sheridan streets in Lake Charles.
In the second, a trailer and truck were stolen from a business on U.S. 90 East in Lake Charles and a forklift was stolen from a business on Candice Lane in Lake Charles. When law enforcement arrived at Jeff Davis bank around 1 a.m. on Aug. 3, the ATM was missing, but the trailer and forklift were left in the parking lot.
The truck and the ATM were found burning later that day near Bayou D’Inde Pass.