Chelsea Gaudin / Eyewitness News
SLIDELL, La. - A burglary ring that has plagued the Slidell area since July was broken up with the arrest of nine people, said the Slidell Police Department.
The crimes, characterized by their daytime occurrence when victims were not home, focused on electronics, jewelry, money and weapons, said police.
Police received the tip they had been waiting for from a citizen who observed big screen televisions being hauled into the back door of Mona's Cafe at 1504 Gause Blvd. on September 27.
When detectives arrived on scene, several LCD televisions were found in the storage room and the manger, Mohamed Ouldbaba, said he purchased them from unknown customers.
The televisions were the same as the ones recently stolen in the Slidell area.
It was discovered that a burglary trio, including Michael Cooper, 17, Tevin Parker, 18, and a juvenile, 16, would bring the stolen property to Mona's Cafe to sell for cash or sell the property to their friends or family.
Oulbaba, 32, and Mona's Cafe employees, Mailainine Babe, 25 and Apolonio Carrasco-Chavarria, 29, would resell the property to friends who lived out of state or out of the country, said police.
Cooper's mother, Shawanda Dawson, 37, and grandfather, Cedric Hartley, 54, were in possession of firearms that Cooper had stolen. Dawson and Hartley, as convicted felons, are not supposed to be in possession of firearms. They had knowledge that the weapons were stolen and attempted to hide them to protect Cooper.
Stolen property was also recovered from Cooper's brother, Cedric Cooper, 23, and Parker's girlfriend, Jennifer Ducre, 19.
Police were able to solve 17 burglaries and recover $8,000 in stolen property.
Michael Cooper said he acted alone in all but three of the incidents, according to police.
The trio was charged with racketeering committing more than two similar thefts for the purpose of acquiring proceeds.
Michael Cooper was charged with possession of stolen property, 16 counts of burglary and one count of aggravated burglary.
Parker was charged with possession of stolen property and three counts of burglary.
Ouldbaba, Babe, Carrasco-Chavarria, Cedric Cooper and Ducre were all charged with possession of stolen property.
Dawson and Hartley were charged with possession of stolen property, illegal possession of a firearm and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.