Restaurant receipt left at crime scene helped police catch suspected catalytic converter thief
BATON ROUGE - A burglar who left his car behind at a crime scene made up a story about someone stealing it in an attempt to cover his tracks, but a receipt later helped investigators prove he was lying.
Officers were called to a used car lot on Florida Boulevard May 5 after two men cut through a chain-link fence and tried to steal catalytic converters from vehicles in the parking lot.
The two burglars reportedly fled when an employee confronted them, leaving behind a jack, saw blades, and the keys to a 2013 Infiniti M37 that was parked just outside the property.
Just hours after the break-in, police said Lawrence Ames, 42, called in to say that his vehicle—the Infiniti found at the scene—had been stolen the previous morning. Officers said in their report that Ames did not have much information, noting that Ames "stated he was high on drugs."
Inside Ames' car, police found two catalytic converters, more saw blades and a restaurant receipt dated the same day as the break-in. Investigators went to that restaurant and reviewed surveillance footage, which showed Ames grabbing lunch around the same time his car was allegedly was missing.
Ames was at the restaurant with another man, and both matched descriptions of the two suspects seen at the car shop.
Officers also learned that Ames has been arrested by "numerous" agencies for stealing catalytic converters in the past, and he had an active warrant for his arrest from the Carencro Police Department at the time of the Florida Boulevard burglary.
Ames was booked Tuesday on charges of burglary and simple criminal damage to property. He also faces charges for filing a false police report.