Police: DNA leads to arrest in 2 home invasions

DNA testing has tied a New Iberia man to at least two break-ins in a string of home invasions targeting elderly women in the Capital City. But authorities said they are unsure whether the suspect acted alone and urged residents Tuesday to remain vigilant as the investigation continues.

“We do not want you to think that everything is fine and dandy and we can just go back to our old lives,” Police Chief Carl Dabadie said at an afternoon news conference.

The suspect, Vorris Mouton, 35, was taken into custody late Monday after the State Police Crime Lab, working through the weekend, determined Mouton had left his DNA profile at a home in the 2000 block of Reymond Avenue that was broken into Dec. 22.

Mouton threatened to kill an elderly woman in the home and demanded she direct him to her safe, authorities said, but he fled the scene after a brief struggle and did not take any of the victim’s money.

Detectives are not sure how Mouton knew the woman had a safe in her home, said Cpl. L’Jean McKneely, a police spokesman.

On Tuesday, Mouton was re-arrested on counts of aggravated burglary and sexual battery after the crime lab linked him to a home invasion Friday in the Sherwood Forest neighborhood. Mouton is accused of breaking into the home between 2 a.m. and 3 a.m. and crouching near the 70-year-old victim’s bed when she was startled awake.

Mouton grabbed the woman and subdued her when she attempted to run, police said. He asked her for money and fled the residence when she said she didn’t have any.

“We do take it personally when these things happen in our community,” Dabadie said. “It hurts us all.”

Authorities are still looking into Mouton’s possible involvement in several other crimes, including two break-ins that occurred Jan. 12 near the areas of Goodwood Boulevard and Glen Oaks Drive and another Jan. 14 in the area of Webb Park.

Police have not released the exact locations of the home invasions in an effort to protect the identities of the victims.

“We’re not going to be premature in saying that this is only isolated to East Baton Rouge Parish,” McKneely said. “He may have committed other crimes in different areas.”

McKneely said Mouton has a girlfriend in Baton Rouge and was visiting her when he was arrested.

Court records show Mouton, 1025 Rene St., New Iberia, has been convicted at least four times of burglary in the 16th Judicial District.

The Daily Iberian reported in 2008 that Mouton had been arrested after undercover deputies caught him performing “a lewd act to himself” in the backyard of a residence. Iberia Parish deputies found burglary tools on his person and 10 purses in the trunk of his vehicle.

Pam Laborde, a state corrections spokeswoman, said Mouton has “cycled from prison to good-time parole supervision since 1997.” He was last released from prison in June and was to be supervised until September 2016, Laborde said, adding Mouton had been compliant with “office and other visits” during his supervision.

Dabadie called the recent home invasions “a big deal for everybody involved.”

He said law enforcement officials took the break-ins personally in part because they targeted elderly women.

Police enlisted K-9 units, performed nighttime helicopter surveillance and increased street patrols in an effort to catch the man or men responsible for the break-ins.

“We’ve pretty much worked nonstop for the last week and a half to two weeks on this case,” Dabadie said, “and the hard work has really paid off.”