Port Allen police warn of gang activity possibly linked to vehicle burglary ring

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Port Allen Police Department

PORT ALLEN, La. (The West Side Journal) – Port Allen police say the ring of adults and juveniles responsible for a rash of vehicle burglaries earlier this year is involved with criminal gang activity.

The investigation into the vehicle burglary ring led to the arrest of Lekelvin Batiste, 18 of Port Allen, and three juveniles in July. Following those arrests, police uncovered connections to crimes in East Baton Rouge, Iberville and other surrounding parishes, Lt. Alaric Celestaine said.

“We’re not jumping to conclusions, we’re taking our time to understand these connections,” he added.

Two guns confiscated during a search of Batiste and the juveniles’ property were confirmed stolen from parishes outside of West Baton Rouge. A third had an obliterated serial number.

The band of criminals is likely involved in identity theft, burglaries throughout West Baton Rouge and other parishes as well as gun and drug trafficking.

More than 20 vehicle burglaries were reported in and around Port Allen during March and April.

“They have hit every quadrant in this city,” Celestaine said.

PAPD has teamed up with the West Baton Rouge Sheriff’s Office, Baton Rouge Police Department and State Police in this investigation.

Port Allen Police Chief Esdron Brown urges residents who have surveillance videos of any suspicious activity to reach out to authorities – someone “dressing too warm for the weather” or wandering around close to homes at night. He also encourages any residents who believe they have had property stolen to file reports, as some items have been recovered but remain unclaimed.

Call the Port Allen Police Department with any information or to report a crime at 225-343-5525.

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The West Side Journal, located in Port Allen, Louisiana serves as the official journal of West Baton Rouge Parish. The newspaper’s roots run deep in the West Baton Rouge community, as the earliest dates of publication reach back to the mid-1800s.

The current editor is Breanna Smith, an alumna of Louisiana State University's Manship School of Mass Communication and native of Baton Rouge. Contributing writers to the Journal are members of the West Side community.

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