Sheriff: Be vigilant, cautious

After a rash of vehicle and residential burglaries in the St. Amant area, Ascension Parish Sheriff Jeff Wiley is warning residents to be vigilant and cautious.

The burglars have targeted areas along Stringer Bridge, Beco, Billingsley and Edward Guidry roads, Wiley said. The common thread that detectives found in the investigation was that the vehicles targeted were unlocked, and ones that were stolen had keys left in the vehicle.

Wiley offered residents a number of tips to deter criminals and prevent burglaries, such as locking and removing valuables from vehicles, locking homes, displaying alarm system signs, closing and locking windows, leaving home interior lights on, installing exterior motion sensors and temporarily stopping the delivery of mail and newspapers while away from home.

In addition, the sheriff said other precautions that can be taken are not leaving hidden keys in obvious hiding places, keeping a detailed inventory of valuable possessions, being a good neighbor by reporting suspicious activity, engraving valuable items and forming a neighborhood watch group.

If residents suspect their vehicles or homes have been broken into, Wiley said they shouldn’t enter because a burglar may still be inside. Instead, use a neighbor’s phone to call police and do not touch anything until police have inspected for evidence. He also said license plate numbers and descriptions of any suspicious vehicles or people should be reported to the police.

The most important thing people can do, Wiley said, is to contact the Ascension Parish Sheriff’s Office at (225) 621-8300 to report a crime or suspicious activity. Tips also can be reported through the department’s anonymous alert system by texting a message to 847411.