Police Department Seeks Public Input

PONCHATOULA—The police department has received two separate requests for new four-way stop signs to be erected. Chief of Police Bry Layrisson is seeking input from the public. The location for the first requested sign is at the intersection of North Seventh Street and West Hickory. The second location is at the intersection of South Sixth Street and West Oak Street. Layrisson asks concerned residents to contact the police department at (985) 386-8386 or e-mail the police department for comments.

Mother Arrested for Shoplifting and Child Abandonment

ArmandPONCHATOULA—The police department responded to a reported shoplifting at Bohning’s Supermarket, according to Chief of Police Bry Layrisson. Upon arrival officers discovered that the suspect had fled the scene. The suspect was later located at CVS Pharmacy and escorted back to Bohning’s for purposes of identification. The driver of the vehicle was identified as Christy Lou Armand, 32, of 18104 Helg Lane. Armand allegedly entered the supermarket and concealed a pack of Marlboro cigarettes and a bottle of Coca Cola in her purse and attempted to leave without paying for the items. Further investigation revealed that during the alleged shoplifting Armand left her 1 year old daughter and 2 year old son in the vehicle unattended, Layrisson said. Armand was arrested and booked with theft by shoplifting and criminal abandonment. She was transported to the Tangipahoa Parish Jail.

DWI Arrest Results in Children Taken to Hospital

WattsPONCHATOULA: On September 15, 2009, at approximately 8:30 a.m. officers responded to a single vehicle accident on North First Street, according to Chief of Police Bry Layrisson. The driver of the vehicle was identified as Birk Bernell Watts, 36, of 700 West McClellan Street. Watts was uninjured in the accident as his vehicle ran off the roadway striking two culverts. However, the two passengers in the vehicle were identified as a five year old female and a three year old male. The five year old stated that she injured her head on the window as the vehicle struck the culverts. Both children were transported to North Oaks hospital for treatment, Layrisson reported. Watts was administered the Intoxilyzer 5000 which yielded a blood alcohol content (BAC) result of 0.139g%. Watts was arrested and booked with the following charges: driving while intoxicated (DWI)-child endangerment, careless operation of a vehicle, no drivers license, no insurance, and numerous warrants failure to appear for court. He was transported the Tangipahoa Parish Jail and bond was listed at $25,000.

Disturbance at KC Hall Leads to Arrest

WalkerPONCHATOULA—On September 12, 2009, officers with the Ponchatoula police department responded to a call for assistance at the KC Hall on Highway 51 North, according to Chief of Police Bry Layrisson. Officer Carol Wilson was working security for a private party when some of the attendees refused to leave and began to cause a disturbance. Upon arrival of additional officers the crowd began to disperse. However, Christopher Dewayne Walker, 32, of 157 Murray Road, refused to leave and began to use loud and obscene language. Sergeant Melvin McGary handcuffed and placed Walker under arrest for public intimidation of a police officer, disturbing the peace-simple drunk, and resisting an officer. Layrisson reports that Walker currently has theft, disturbing the peace-simple drunk, possession of drug paraphernalia, and soliciting prostitution charges pending from multiple arrests in April and May 2009.

Released suspect was charged 39 times in the past year including 4 burglaries in 30 days

PONCHATOULA-A Ponchatoula man accused of attempted murder of an elderly victim during a recent home invasion was arrested on a total of thirty-nine (39) charges in the last year, including twenty-two (22) felonies and four (4) burglaries in the month.

Ponchatoula Assistant Chief of Police Jim Betbeze reports that within thirty days Fredrick Sims, 18, of 227 President Hoover St., committed two(2) separate home invasions as well as two(2) additional residential burglaries in Ponchatoula. The first home invasion occurred on July 31, 2009, in the Washington St. area. Sims and a juvenile accomplice entered the victim's residence, severely beat him on the head, robbed him, and committed aggravated felony damage to his property. On August 1, 2009, Ponchatoula Police arrested Sims for second degree battery (felony), simple robbery (felony), aggravated criminal damage (felony), and criminal trespass, and transported Sims to the Tangipahoa parish jail. According to jail records, on August 7, 2009, Sims was released on his own recognizance (no bail bond), Betbeze said.

On August 9, 2009, following Sims release from the parish jail he burglarized a residence in the President Hoover St. area of Ponchatoula. On August 16, 2009, Sims committed his third burglary in less than thirty days. Sims entered a residence on S. 8th St. Drive and stole the victim's wallet and car keys. On August 17, 2009, officers with the Hammond Police Department conducted a traffic stop on the stolen vehicle. Sims along with a juvenile was arrested for possession of stolen property, possession of cocaine (felony), and possession of marijuana. Sims was also booked with contributing to the delinquency of a juvenile (felony). Sims was transported to the parish jail, and additional charges of burglary (felony) and theft (felony) were added to Sims long list of crimes. These charges stemmed from the burglary which occurred on August 9, 2009, according to Betbeze. According to jail records, Sims was once again released on his own recognizance (no bail bond) by TPSO on August 26, 2009, Betbeze said.

Finally, on August 28, 2009, officers responded to a 911 call from a residence on S. 8th St. Drive (same residence as above). The victim stated that someone entered his home, severely beat him with a metal pipe and stole his car. At approximately 12:30 a.m. officers with the Hammond Police Department located the stolen vehicle and conducted a traffic stop on N. Cherry St. in Hammond. The driver was identified as Joshua Jackson, 17, of 105 McCray Lane, Hammond, and the passenger was identified as Fredrick Sims, 18, of 227 President Hoover St., Ponchatoula. Jackson and Sims were arrested with possession of stolen property, possession of marijuana, possession of schedule III drugs. Further investigation revealed that Sims was responsible for the home invasion and violent beating. He was arrested for attempted first degree murder (felony), aggravated burglary (felony), and theft (felony).

Assistant Chief Betbeze reported that during the past twelve (12) months the Ponchatoula Police Department has arrested Fredrick Sims for the following crimes
(39charges total---22 felony and 17 misdemeanor):
1-count attempted first degree murder (felony)
1-count second degree battery (felony)
1-count robbery (felony)
1-count purse snatching (felony)
1-count aggravated burglary (felony)
1-count aggravated criminal damage to property (felony)
1-count attempted burglary (felony)
1-count unauthorized entry (felony)
2-counts criminal damage (felony)
2-counts theft (felony)
5-counts burglary (felony)
1-count possession of marijuana
1-count possession of stolen property
1-count resisting an officer
1-count battery
1-count criminal trespass
1-count criminal damage
1-count criminal mischief
1-count fugitive of another jurisdiction
2-counts theft
7-counts failure to appear for court

In another incident, Assistant Chief of Police Jim Betbeze reported that Ponchatoula officers previously arrested Malcolm Jones, 17, of 56359 Bickham Chapel Rd, Independence on July 26, 2009, and charged him with the following offenses
(19 felony charges):
14-counts vehicle burglary (all felonies)
1-count auto theft (felony)
1-count attempted auto theft (felony)
1-count burglary of inhabited dwelling (felony)
1-count possession of stolen property (felony)
1-count theft (felony)
1-count resisting an officer
According to jail records Jones was released from the parish jail on August 5, 2009, on his own recognizance (no bail bond).

On August 5, 2009, the same day Jones was released, officers were called to the scene of an armed robbery which occurred at the intersection of Cedar Lane and Tower Road in Ponchatoula. Detectives with the Ponchatoula Police Department gathered evidence and information which led to the arrests of Jamie Tobias James, 21, of 910 SE Railroad Avenue and William S. Wilson, 19, of 100 Hoover Street. Further investigation revealed that the two suspects fled in a stolen vehicle driven by Malcolm Jones, 17, of 56359 Bickham Chapel Road in Independence.
On August 6, 2009, officers recovered the vehicle which was stolen in Amite, Betbeze reported. Jones was arrested for running a stop sign, no driver's license, possession of stolen property, and misrepresentation during booking. Jones, Wilson, and James have all been arrested for armed robbery, and have been placed in the parish jail.

“The Ponchatoula Police department is doing everything we can to keep our streets safe from violent criminals,” said Assistant Chief Betbeze. “Unfortunately, our efforts are undermined when the parish jail releases violent felony suspects back into our community without requiring any bail bond.”

2 Arrested in Home Invasion

SimsPONCHATOULA-The Ponchatoula Police Department has made an arrest in a recent violent home invasion, according to Chief of Police Bry Layrisson. On August 28, 2009, at approximately 11:00 p.m., officers responded to a 911 call from the residence of Merlin Laurent located at 290 South Eighth Street Drive. Laurent stated that someone entered his home, beat him with a metal post and stole his car. Laurent was transported to NorthOaksHospital and then to UniversityHospital in New Orleans with severe injuries. He is in ICU pending surgery. "My thoughts and prayers are with the Laurent Family," Layrisson said.

Officers immediately entered the stolen vehicle into the National Crime Information Center (N.C.I.C.) and contacted surrounding agencies to inform them of the incident. Detectives collected evidence from the scene and K-9 Officer Mike Hill and his partner Billy were called to the scene to search the area for evidence. Upon searching the yard and South Street, K-9 Billy alerted on a trail which lead to the recovery of what appears to be the metal object used in the crime, Layrisson said.

At Approximately 12:30 a.m. officers with the Hammond Police Department located the stolen vehicle and conducted a traffic stop on North Cherry Street in Hammond. The driver was identified as Joshua Jackson, 17, of 105 McCray Lane, Hammond, and the passenger was identified as Fredrick Sims, 18, of 227 President Hoover Street, Ponchatoula. Jackson was arrested and charged with possession of stolen property, possession of marijuana, possession of schedule III drugs, and no driver's license.

Sims was arrested and charged with possession of stolen property, possession of marijuana, and possession of schedule III drugs. Both suspects were placed in the Hammond City Jail. "I would like to commend the Hammond Police Department for their assistance in capturing this very dangerous fugitive," Layrisson said.

Further investigations revealed that Sims was responsible for the home invasion and violent beating. He was arrested and charged with attempted first degree murder, aggravated burglary, and felony theft.

Layrisson stated that Sims was previously arrested less than two weeks ago, on August 19, 2009, for the first theft of Merlin Laurent's vehicle which occurred on August 17, 2009. "Once again this same criminal was captured by the Hammond Police Department immediately after stealing the vehicle from Ponchatoula. I'm proud of our working relationship and the results it's yielding," Layrisson said.

Layrisson stated that Sims has been arrested by his office more than thirty (30) times in the last twelve months with charges consisting of second degree battery, robbery, purse snatching, numerous burglaries, numerous resisting arrests, numerous felony criminal damage, and possession of marijuana. "Once the home invasion investigation is complete, my office will attempt to determine how this very dangerous criminal keeps getting released from jail. There is absolutely no excuse for this violent repeat offender to be walking the streets of Ponchatoula after we've arrested him over thirty times," Layrisson said.


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