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Shoplifting arrest led deputies to phony business housing stolen heavy-duty equipment
DENHAM SPRINGS - A shoplifting arrest last month eventually led deputies to uncover a theft ring targeting heavy equipment across several parishes.
The Livingston Parish Sheriff's Office said deputies found evidence of the crimes after they arrested a pair of shoplifters at Juban Crossing in February. Inside the suspects' truck, deputies found a ledger containing names and items tied to the stolen equipment.
Deputies also discovered the vehicle had a switched VIN and was reported stolen from a rental company in Lafayette.
The thefts were reported between Nov. 8, 2021 and Feb. 16, 2022 in multiple parishes throughout south Louisiana, including Ascension and Livingston parishes.
The investigation eventually led law enforcement to a "fake shop" in Livingston Parish called Heavyequip LLC. Several pieces of stolen equipment—worth over $140,000—were found on the property, including tractors and an excavator.
Investigators believe stolen vehicles were taken there to have their VINs removed and replaced.
Four people have been arrested so far.
- Christopher Byerly, 42, of Broussard, LA (arrested in Livingston Parish)
- Adrienne King, 35, of Maurice, LA (arrested in Livingston Parish)
- Robert Brazell (arrested in Texas)
- Dennis Sizemore (arrested in Lafayette)
The sheriff's office said more arrests are possible pending the investigation.
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