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Juveniles face armed robbery, theft charges

Tuesday, October 8, 2019
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Two Bienville Parish juveniles face a multitude of charges in connection with a string of Lincoln Parish vehicle burglaries and the alleged armed robbery of a Ruston convenience store.

The 16- and 17-year-old suspects were apprehended Sept. 27 after a lengthy pursuit that ended in Bienville Parish, Lincoln Parish Sheriff’s Office spokesman Deputy J.D. Driskill said Monday.

The pair was traveling in a vehicle stolen two days earlier in the Simsboro area.

The 16-year-old has been charged with 27 counts of simple burglary and one count of felony theft of a motor vehicle. He’s being held in a juvenile detention facility, Driskill said.

As of Monday afternoon, the 17-year-old remained in custody in Bienville Parish. He will also face 27 counts of simple burglary, one count of felony theft of a motor vehicle, and, because he was the alleged driver of the stolen vehicle, one count of aggravated flight from an officer.

The pair is also expected to face charges from Ruston city police stemming from the Sept. 19 South Vienna Street convenience store armed robbery.

The apparent crime spree began in August with a spate of vehicle burglaries in the Choudrant area. During those incidents, firearms as well as other items were taken, Driskill said.

Most of the vehicles were unlocked, he said.

LPSO investigators learned that the Jackson Parish Sheriff’s Office had also responded to similar vehicle burglary complaints around the same time, Driskill said.

That led to what became a multi-agency investigation that included the LPSO and JPSO, as well as sheriff’s offices in Claiborne, Bienville, Webster and Ouachita parishes, along with the Minden, Homer and Ruston city police departments.

Investigators identified the two juveniles as persons of interest in the burglaries.

Meantime, the Ruston convenience store heist occurred.

Then, on Sept. 26, the LPSO responded to multiple vehicle burglaries in the Simsboro area that were similar to the break-ins in around Choudrant, Driskill said.

About the same time, deputies received a report of a stolen vehicle near Simsboro. Driskill said deputies increased their presence in the area, expecting that the suspects would return.

About 3 a.m. the next day, a patrol deputy saw the stolen vehicle traveling on Highway 563 in Simsboro.

“When an attempt was made to conduct a traffic stop on the stolen vehicle, the driver refused to stop and instead led deputies on a lengthy vehicle pursuit that eventually entered into Bienville Parish,” Driskill said.

“With the assistance of Bienville Parish deputies, the vehicle was finally stopped, and the two occupants were taken into custody without further incident. Upon identifying the two suspects in the stolen vehicle, it was confirmed that they were the same two individuals that investigators had previously developed as persons of interest in the Choudrant vehicle burglaries,” he said.

Investigators later confirmed the two suspects were responsible for the burglaries in Choudrant, Simsboro, the vehicle theft in Simsboro and the Ruston armed robbery, Driskill said.

The two juveniles were also arrested on Bienville Parish charges and have charges pending from Jackson Parish, as well as the Lincoln and Ruston charges.

“This is still a very active investigation, and more arrests are possible,” Driskill said.