During the chase, the suspects began throwing several guns out of the car’s windows and on to the side of Interstate 10. Police located the weapons and discovered they were stolen from a previous gun store burglary at F.I.T.S. Indoor Range, which occurred on April 2nd.
Slidell Police, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), and the St. Tammany Parish Sheriff’s Office have been investigating a string of gun store burglaries, all of which occurred over the past two months. F.I.T.S. Indoor Range was burglarized on March 7th and April 2nd, and Arms Merchant, LLC (Mandeville, LA) was burglarized on March 29th. This past Friday, the ATF, in conjunction with the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) was joined by New Orleans Crimestoppers, and were offering a reward of up to $12,500 for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person or persons responsible for the gun store burglaries. Those cases are still under investigation, and the reward is still being offered.
The five teenagers, caught earlier this morning are, just a small part of a much larger organization of juvenile criminals from New Orleans. Earlier this month, Slidell Police had another encounter with four teenagers in a stolen car. The teens were caught by a Slidell Police K-9 unit after leading officers on a high-speed chase throughout the city. The juveniles, who are also believed to be affiliated with this burglary ring, were all from New Orleans and linked to burglaries, carjackings, and stolen guns.
Slidell Police Chief Randy Fandal says, “I’ve said it time and time again, and my stance hasn’t changed. If you come to the Northshore to commit a crime, you will be caught. I will not stand for it, nor will our citizens. We work hard to keep a safe community, and we aren’t going to allow these teenagers to come and plague our city. My message to anyone thinking about preying on our community is this…we will not stop at the parish or state line. We will pursue you until you are apprehended.”
All five teenagers will be booked into the Florida Parishes Juvenile Detention Center with various burglary charges and possession of stolen firearms. The investigation is on-going and is being worked in conjunction with the ATF, St. Tammany Parish Sheriff’s Office, Louisiana State Police, and NOPD.
*NOTE* The photos posted are from various social media accounts of some of the suspects who are apparently posing with stolen guns.