Gene McCauley

PRAIRIEVILLE — Ascension Parish sheriff's deputies have arrested a Prairieville man they say they found using an electric grinder in the early morning darkness to cut open money boxes at a car wash and steal the cash they contained.

Gene McCauley, 39, is suspected of five similar burglaries over the past several weeks at the same car wash on La. 42 and at nearby Sail Away Carwash, also in Prairieville, Chief Deputy Bobby Webre said. More $1,000 was reported stolen from the car washes.

McCauley appeared on the roof of Galvez Carwash about 5 a.m. May 31 shortly after deputies responded to an alarm and had heard McCauley's grinder whining away inside the car wash, Webre said.

McCauley, who had cut a hole through the roof, refused to get down and went back into the building at 40372 La. 42, Webre said.

Deputies were able to get on the roof with a ladder and were able get control of him after a short struggle, Webre said. At one point, Webre said, McCauley had threatened to jump from the roof.

McCauley had approximately $400 in quarters and $179 in bills in his possession, Webre said in a news release.

Deputies later searched McCauley's home and found steroids and drug paraphernalia, Webre said.

McCauley, 37225 Charlotte Ave., remained in Ascension Parish Prison on Wednesday on combined bail of $126,500 after being booked May 31 and Friday with six counts each of simple burglary, felony damage to property, felony theft and criminal trespass, online jail records say.

He also was booked on five counts of steroid possession and single counts of possession of drug paraphernalia, Webre said. 

Follow David J. Mitchell on Twitter, @NewsieDave.