Two arrested, one sought for theft of vehicle for joy riding
Stealing a car just to go joy-riding has landed two persons in jail and another on the police radar.
Todd Gardner, 17, and Teice Rogers, 17, both of the 800 block of Norton Street, have been charged with conspiracy to commit theft of a motor vehicle and theft of a motor vehicle.
Minden Police are still looking for a third person – a white male – in connection with the theft.
Police Chief Steve Cropper said Officer 1st Class Kenneth James was dispatched to the corner of Elm Street and McArthur around 11 p.m. Tuesday after a witness reported seeing a man parking a car behind a dental clinic and fleeing on foot.
"The officer went to the vehicle, got the registration information off of it and ran the license plate number," Cropper said. "The person it belonged to had not reported it stolen, so Lt. Richard Cooper sent an officer to the owner's residence. He was totally unaware that his vehicle had been stolen."
Officers reportedly told the man his vehicle had already been located.
"They contacted detective (Heath) Balkom and he fingerprinted the vehicle and talked to the owner and the witness," Cropper said. "Balkom was able to get a description of him and the direction he ran."
On March 8, Balkom reportedly received a tip from someone who claimed to know the persons involved in the theft.
"The informant named three persons who were involved in taking the vehicle," said the chief. "He gave an address of the location where these people were supposed to have been."
Cropper said Balkom, along with Det. Chris Cheatham, Lt. Dan Weaver and Capt. Marvin Garrett went to the location and made contact with Gardner and Rogers.
"Rogers was questioned and admitted she was there when the vehicle was stolen," Cropper said. "She said she was not the one that actually took the vehicle, but she said she did go 'joy riding' in it."
Interviewed separately, Gardner reportedly gave police the same story.
"He (Gardner) said he knew it was stolen, was there when it was stolen and did go riding around in it," Cropper said. "He said the plan was to go 'car hopping,' which means to go around town, trying to find unlocked vehicles and stealing things out of them."
The chief said Gardner and Rogers pointed the finger at the third party, who was not at the residence, saying he actually stole the vehicle.
"They said they didn't know where he was but indicated they heard he lived in Haughton," Cropper said. "By Louisiana law, if these two have full knowledge that the vehicle is stolen – and they were actually there when it was taken – they are as guilty as the one who allegedly rolled it down the driveway."
Cropper said the third unnamed male was expected to surrender to the police Monday or Tuesday but had not done so. Haughton authorities are reportedly looking for him.
The vehicle was returned to the owner with no damage.