Lafayette police report unusual spike in robberies

Drugs, Christmas seen as possible motives

“We had what we call a rash. We have moved from a rash to a spike. It’s way more than it should be.” Jim Craft, Lafayette police chief

The city has seen a spike in robberies in recent weeks, far above what’s expected for this time of year, Lafayette Police Chief Jim Craft said Wednesday.

“We had what we call a rash. We have moved from a rash to a spike. It’s way more than it should be,” Craft said Wednesday at the City-Parish Council’s police liaison committee meeting.

Police have reported 12 robberies in the past three weeks, including three muggings, four hold-ups at convenience stores, two bank robberies and robberies at a sandwich shop, a Dollar General store and a bar.

“I haven’t seen them like this in a long time,” Craft said.

The same robbers could be involved in some of the crimes, but most are not believed to be connected, Craft said.

“It’s not the same people,” he said.

At least two suspects have been arrested this month in connection with the recent spate of robberies.

“Our investigators have done a great job, because with some of those, there are zero leads,” Craft said.

Craft attributed the uptick in robberies to drug activity.

Councilman Kenneth Boudreaux said he believes there might also be a link to Christmas — robbers seeking cash for holiday expenses.

“I think it’s just the season. I think it’s that time of year,” Boudreaux said.

All but one of the robberies in the past three weeks are believed to have involved a gun, and Boudreaux said it is fortunate that no one has been killed or seriously injured.

The chief said the department is developing a contingency plan should the robbery trend continue, but did not divulge the details.

Craft said, officers have stepped patrols and surveillance of businesses, and have been directed to give more attention to checking on convenience stores when they have any downtime.

Craft also asked residents to be vigilant and report any suspicious activity.