Minden Press-Herald

Oct 02nd

Suspect 3 racks up more charges

Matthew_BarnesThe third suspect in a stolen vehicle case surrendered to Minden Police last week. But while his cohorts were already in jail, Matthew Barnes was allegedly stealing another car.

Barnes, 17, of the 300 block of Davis Street, Haughton, was arrested on warrants for theft of a motor vehicle and conspiracy to commit theft of a motor vehicle.

He is now facing additional charges for theft of a motor vehicle and theft under $500.

Two suspects, Todd Gardner, 17, and Teice Rogers, 17, both of the 800 block of Norton Street, had already been arrested on the same charges after the trio allegedly stole a vehicle from a residence on Germantown Road in order to "go joy riding."

Minden Police Chief Steve Cropper said after Barnes turned himself in, officers learned of another motor vehicle theft that occurred between the time Gardner and Rogers were arrested and Barnes surrendered.

"A 2008 Pontiac Solstice valued at around $14,000 was reported stolen from a local car dealership on March 9," Cropper said. "That was three days after the first theft."

The chief said on Monday, detectives Heath Balkom and Chris Cheatham went to Bayou Dorcheat Correctional Center where Barnes was incarcerated for the initial theft.

"They interviewed Barnes in reference to the stolen 2008 Pontiac," Cropper said. "He (Barnes) admitted he is the one who stole that vehicle."

The Solstice, Cropper said, was recovered by officers in Bossier Parish last Thursday.

"Detective Cheatham went over there Friday and processed the vehicle," said the chief. "Before Barnes stole the Solstice from the dealership, he stole a license plate off another vehicle, so the Solstice would have a license plate on it when he drove it off the lot."

An observant citizen led police officers to the first stolen vehicle, which was hidden behind a dental clinic off Elm Street.

A few days later, Balkom reportedly received a tip from someone who claimed to know the persons involved in that theft and where they could be located.

That vehicle was returned to the owner with no damage.






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