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Pointe Coupee Sheriff: No facility available to hold 2 teens in custody for car theft, break-ins

Housing juvenile offenders
Published: Dec. 29, 2021 at 5:29 PM CST
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BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - Not locking the car is like asking for trouble, even in a small rural area like Pointe Coupee Parish. Terry LeJeune learned that lesson after he left his keys in his truck.

“I went back to bed and got up the next morning, went to church didn’t realize that, come back home from church and realized that my truck was gone,” explained LeJeune.

Someone stole LeJeune’s company truck Saturday night, and he is not the only victim.

The Pointe Coupee Sheriff’s Office said they’ve been tracking a trio of teenagers who they believe have been stealing cars around the parish.

“It freaked me out. The sad thing about it is the kid was so calm. He walked within 10 ft of my garage door, walked right into my backyard. I mean I have a big old light shinning, and I got a security light,” added LeJeune.

So far, the sheriff’s office has two teenage suspects in custody, but they don’t have a juvenile facility to hold them.

“Well, we just got a system that is a flawed system. So, when we do catch one of them, Sunday…I think my guys called approximately eight juvenile facilities, including OJJ, including multiple in the state, some of out of the state, and nobody would take the juvenile,” said Sheriff Rene’ Thibodeaux.

Sheriff Thibodeaux explained Iberville, West Baton Rouge, and Pointe Coupee Parishes don’t have their own juvenile facilities. Some of their neighboring parishes with facilities won’t accept kids from other areas.

Sheriff Thibodeaux said when they can’t keep kids in custody they often become repeat offenders.

“This guy is going home with an ankle bracelet, and that’s huge problem that doesn’t fix anything. The people that’s in charge of monitoring ankle bracelets it’s a problem, the batteries go dead, no accountability for them,” added Thibodeaux.

Thibodeaux said he’s working with other parishes to ask for federal help to build a juvenile facility, but until then, they are asking folks to lock up their cars, so they don’t have to lock anyone else up.

As for the teenage trio, Pointe Coupee Sheriff’s Office is still looking for the supposed ring leader, but because he’s a minor, they did not release a name or description.

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