Four men arrested after 20 cars burglarized

Four men were arrested in Old Metairie on Wednesday night accused of burglarizing 20 cars — and stealing two of them, along with two handguns — during two visits to neighborhoods just west of the Orleans Parish line. Jefferson Parish Sheriff Newell Normand said they were aided greatly by owners who left their vehicles unlocked overnight.

“Let me reiterate this for about the one millionth time,” Normand said Thursday. “Lock your cars at night. Do not leave valuables (inside) if you’re not going to lock your car. That’s what they’re looking for.”

Police said that’s what Garrin Brown, 17; Dwine Hardy, 18; Melvin Robertson, 18; and Frank Bell, 19, all of New Orleans, had in mind.

The first robberies took place March 12, when the men burglarized five unlocked cars, taking a Glock pistol, among other items, police said.

They returned March 21, this time to neighborhoods just north of Old Metairie, taking items from 15 unlocked cars and stealing a 2008 Dodge Durango and a 2012 Infinity FX50, one of which contained the keys to both vehicles, police said..

Investigators discovered video footage from a nearby home showing a 2014 Nissan Murano leaving with the two stolen vehicles. That car was discovered to have been carjacked in Fulton County, Georgia, and the Sheriff’s Office saturated the area with officers Wednesday night, anticipating the thieves’ return.

The Sheriff’s Office said its cameras picked up the Murano just before 11:30 p.m., and deputies tried to pull it over on Causeway Boulevard. They chased the vehicle to Athania Parkway, where the four men attempted to flee on foot but were arrested.

Lamontriel Lacour, 22, of Metairie, had remained in the vehicle, and deputies took her in for questioning.

The Sheriff’s Office said Brown confessed to the burglaries and implicated Hardy, while Robertson and Bell refused to answer questions.

Normand reminded residents to secure their guns, noting that while a .44-caliber gun stolen on the second night was recovered, the Glock has not been.

He said the four men have prior arrest records that include theft, drug possession, assault and other charges.

Dead man found with neck lodged in fence

New Orleans police are investigating the death of a man whose neck became lodged in a wrought-iron fence in Mid-City.

The bizarre incident was discovered about 7 a.m. Thursday when a pedestrian spotted the 58-year-old man’s body near Tulane and South Carrollton avenues. It was not immediately clear whether foul play was involved, and authorities were also investigating whether any traffic incidents had occurred nearby.

Detectives were canvassing the area for witnesses and clues.

OPP inmate found guilty of jailhouse rape

A jury Thursday convicted an Orleans Parish Prison inmate of forcing another inmate to perform oral sex on him at knifepoint.

Louis Monroe, 30, faces an automatic life sentence without parole after being convicted of one count of aggravated rape. Jurors deliberated less than an hour.

The rape happened in June in the jail’s Templeman V building. Monroe forced another inmate to shave his head and facial hair and “told the victim that he would have to do this every Friday,” said Christopher Bowman, a spokesman for District Attorney Leon Cannizzaro.

The rape came to light after another inmate recognized the victim “was withdrawn and acting strange,” Bowman said. The victim later confided in the inmate, Bowman said, who reported the matter to deputies.

Ex-teacher sentenced to 15 years in sex case

A Gretna man who taught foreign languages at several Catholic high schools, including St. Mary’s Academy, was sentenced Thursday to 15 years in federal prison for sexual exploitation of children.

Keith Joseph McGee, 31, was found guilty last year of attempting to coerce a minor to produce sexually explicit images and receiving sexually explicit images from teenage boys.

McGee had posted several personal advertisements online seeking sexual interactions with young teens and “Catholic high school boys,” according to U.S. Attorney Kenneth Polite’s office.

McGee was caught communicating with minors via email, text messaging and social media. He also communicated unwittingly with an undercover FBI agent.

“In addition to seeking sexually explicit pictures, McGee attempted to arrange sexual liaisons with the boys, including driving to the home of a 15-year-old boy around 2 a.m.,” according to a news release.

19-year-old arrested in fatal shooting

New Orleans police Wednesday arrested 19-year-old Elton Williams in a fatal shooting that happened Monday in the 7700 block of Alabama Street in New Orleans East.

Williams is accused of fatally shooting 27-year-old Elevterio Saldivar about 4:30 p.m. Police said the motive appeared to be robbery.

Feds: Bookkeeper embezzled $700K

A 67-year-old New Orleans woman pleaded guilty Wednesday to embezzling more than $700,000 from the Community Health Charities of Louisiana and Mississippi.

As bookkeeper of the organization, which raises money for local charities, Patricia Blanchard embezzled about $715,000 from the organization.

Prosecutors said she stole the money by mailing checks drawn on CHC accounts to pay her own credit card bills, obtained cash advances on her Shell gas card and reimbursed herself from the organization’s accounts and made personal purchases directly from CHC accounts without permission.

She faces up to 20 years behind bars, according to U.S. Attorney Kenneth Polite’s office.

She has agreed to pay back the stolen funds.

Woman admits theft from credit union

A New Orleans woman pleaded guilty in federal court Wednesday to stealing thousands of dollars from the Ochsner Federal Credit Union.

Gail Teague, 48, worked for the credit union from 2000 until May 2013. She admitted embezzling $34,000 by creating fraudulent loans.

She faces up to 10 years in prison when she is sentenced July 15.

Felon gets six years on firearm charge

A Metairie man was sentenced to nearly six years in prison Thursday for possessing a firearm as a convicted felon.

Stephen Farrell, 25, had a loaded .380-caliber firearm and ammunition in his Central Avenue home in May 2013, authorities said.

He had been convicted in 2007 of attempted armed robbery in Jefferson Parish.

Three booked in ammunition thefts

The St. Tammany Parish Sheriff’s Office has arrested three people accused of shoplifting large amounts of ammunition from local sporting goods stores and selling it at area pawn shops to support a heroin addiction.

Eric David Burton, 29, of Hammond; Carleigh Polk, 23, of Slidell; and Catalina K. Douglas, 22, of Slidell, were booked on several counts of misdemeanor theft of goods.

Polk faces 14 counts.

Two booked on counts of firearms discharge

Police arrested two men accused of firing guns Wednesday night in New Orleans East.

Jamal Ball, 17, and Kendol Lambert, 21, were booked on illegal discharge of a firearm and illegal use of a firearm.

The incident happened about 8 p.m. in the 14000 block of Explorers Avenue. Officers responding to a report of shots fired spotted the men standing near a vehicle.

Police said they recovered a .38-caliber revolver and a Glock semi-automatic handgun.

NOPD investigating two armed robberies

New Orleans police Thursday were investigating armed robberies that happened in Algiers and the French Quarter.

The first occurred about 12:30 a.m. in the 4500 block of Woodland Drive in Algiers. A 21-year-old man told police he was robbed of his wallet by a group of five men.

About 2 a.m., a 29-year-old man and a 36-year-old man were robbed by two men in the 1000 block of Dauphine Street.

Man surrenders to SWAT team

A man accused of choking a former girlfriend outside a store surrendered to police late Wednesday night after negotiations with a SWAT unit.

Damon Gilliam, 31, was booked on counts of battery and aggravated assault after emerging from an apartment in the 2200 block of Westbend Parkway he had refused to leave. Gilliam also pointed a gun at the woman’s 14-year-old son at a bus stop, police said.