Posted: Jul 25, 2012 5:50 PM by Russell Jones, Mike Steele
Updated: Jul 25, 2012 5:50 PM
DENHAM SPRINGS - The Livingston Parish Sheriff's Office announced they're dedicating an entire full-time team to tackle a growing problem in the rapidly-growing parish: thefts and burglaries.
The number of those cases in the parish is climbing, with an increase from 700 to 800 last year. So far this year, deputies have investigated 450 cases. It's one of the things Jason Ard said needed to be dealt with when he was sworn in as sheriff last month.
"We're growing so fast," said Sheriff Jason Ard, "and we've always been known as a bedroom community."
Meika Blount is one of those cases. She said someone broke into their locked garage and stole four wheelers, tools, even electrical cords with copper wiring in them.
"Just over $10,000 [worth]," she said. "The things that were damaged as well as some of the things that are still missing."
Blount was fortunate: witnesses saw the thieves take off, and deputies responded quickly. Investigators were able to recover about 95 percent of what was taken.
Sheriff Ard recently started a burglary division to deal with the increase, and said it's already paying off.
"We've already recovered close to $600,000 in recovered property, which is phenomenal for them to be able to do that," he said. "They're solving a lot of burglaries, they're making a lot of arrests... these guys work day and night."
Ard also promised to beef up the narcotics division as part of his administration.