Deputies accuse crew of year-long crime spree
BATON ROUGE - Sheriff's deputies charged three men with a string of vehicle and ATM thefts which have been going on around East Baton Rouge Parish for the past year.
Deputies arrested Andre Weatherspoon, Daryl Pierre and Robert Christopher this week after detectives said they were caught trying to pull off another such heist.
Investigators said since May 2014 several East Baton Rouge businesses have had work vehicles stolen from their lots. Those vehicles were then used in burglaries at other businesses and found abandoned or burned in North Baton Rouge afterward.
Detectives said the methods used were the same in all the burglaries, including the thieves' clothing and method of entry into the businesses. Investigators said the men would also use tools in the work trucks as part of their crimes, such as when they used a chain from one of the work vans to try and rip an ATM off a wall at one business.
In October 2014 sheriff's deputies said Baton Rouge Police nearly had the crew, getting into a pursuit with one stolen van after trying to make a traffic stop. Police said the three men abandoned the truck and fled on foot, avoiding capture.
Using GPS information recorded by some of the work vehicles, witness statements and security footage, investigators said they identified one of the men through his personal vehicle which was spotted after the men burned one of their stolen vehicles. Detectives said the same man had been arrested before for burglaries very similar to the ones they'd been investigating.
Deputies said on April 20 one of the stolen vehicles' GPS signals reported it had stopped at a set of apartments on Dianna Drive. EBRSO and BRPD went out to the apartments and said while they were going from unit to unit Pierre and Weatherspoon tried to run from one of the apartments. Officers took both of them into custody and said witnesses told them they saw Pierre, Weatherspoon and Christopher drive up and get out of the stolen vehicle together.
Investigators said a search of the apartment Pierre and Weatherspoon had been in turned up stolen tools and items taken from a recent business burglary, as well as black masks and gloves similar to those worn by the people who broke into the business. Investigators later located and arrested Christopher as well.
Deputies said Weatherspoon told them he had only been a lookout during one of the burglaries, but denied being a part of the other crimes. Investigators said he claimed Pierre and Christopher were behind the other crimes.
All three were booked into the parish jail on multiple charges of burglary and vehicle theft.