BRPD arrests suspect in parking meter thefts
BATON ROUGE - Police believe they've caught the person that damaged and stole from dozens of parking meters in downtown Baton Rouge.
Sgt. Don Stone said officers arrested Marcus Wayne Smith, 39, in suspicion of 42 counts of felony theft and criminal damage early Friday morning.
Stone said officers had set up surveillance on meters in the downtown area overnight. Around 1:30 a.m. they said they saw Smith tampering with some on the 200 block of North Street, and soon after found him trying to smash one open on concrete in a vacant lot.
He said Smith fled on foot but officers were able to catch him with the assistance of a police helicopter patrolling the area. They said the meter was damaged beyond repair, and Smith had $5 in quarters, nickels and dimes on him when he was arrested.
City engineers say the damage to the meters was valued at $14,700 since most were damaged beyond repair, and police say they don't know how much money was taken in all.
Smith, who police say is homeless, was booked into the parish jail. Stone said he had previously been arrested for breaking into meters on March 3, and was released from jail on April 2.