Burglary ring in Acadiana also struck St. Martin Parish

Twenty of the 70 guns and some electronic equipment recovered last week after a burglary ring was busted were stolen from homes in St. Martin Parish, outside the three parishes of Lafayette, Vermilion and Acadia in which detectives at first believed the alleged theft ring operated, officials said.

St. Martin Parish Sheriff’s Office Maj. Ginny Higgins said the burglaries were reported Aug. 18 from homeowners in Parks and Cypress Island, just east of the Lafayette Parish line.

“Thanks to the Lafayette Parish Sheriff’s Office, along with several surrounding law enforcement agencies, items will be able to be returned to the victims of these burglaries,” Higgins said.

In addition to the guns, stolen items recovered last week included pieces of gold, jewelry and electronic equipment.

Sheriffs in Lafayette, Vermilion and Acadia parishes Thursday announced they had broken a theft ring and arrested three men. Two of the suspects are accused of breaking into homes and stealing the items while the third bought them to resell on the black market.

Detectives arrested Jerome Thibodeaux, 35, of Maurice, and Damian Schexnayder, 29, of Rayne, who are accused of committing the burglaries, and Scott resident Jack Leblanc, 53, who is accused of buying and later fencing the items.

The three sheriffs said last week the break-ins were at homes on outlying sections of rural subdivisions in Lafayette, Vermilion and Acacadia.

Higgins said Tuesday some of the goods also were stolen from St. Martin Parish residents and are being returned.

The stolen booty, recovered last week from a building in Scott, included 40 one-ounce gold pieces with a total value of around $52,000, jewelry, electronics, 41 shotguns, 30 rifles, six handguns, one crossbow and some ammunition.

Lafayette sheriff’s spokesman Capt. Kip Judice said one of the recovered guns was worth $5,000.

Schexnayder is being held in the Lafayette Parish Correctional Center on a warrant from Pennsylvania, and is awaiting charges from Acadia Parish, according to jail officials.

Thibodeaux also is being held in the Lafayette jail, awaiting charges from Acadia Parish, the officials said.

Leblanc was released from the Lafayette jail, where he was being held on $20,000 bond after being accused of two counts of felony possession of stolen goods, and three counts of illegal possession of stolen goods, jail officials said.

The three men have not been formally charged by the 15th Judicial District Attorney’s Office and are awaiting court dates. The 15th Judicial District covers Acadia, Lafayette and Vermilion parishes.