Sunshine Equipment located at 100 Circle Drive in Laplace was burglarized 5 times in the last month.
On Tuesday, June 19, 2012, members of St. John the Baptist Parish Sheriff’ Office Patrol Division discovered that Sunshine Equipment had been burglarized. Officers found that 5 John Deere Gators were stolen. A canvass of the area was conducted, and all 5 Gators were recovered in the Laplace area.
On Wednesday, June 20, 2012, members of SJSO while on patrol saw what appeared to be 3 juveniles riding on 3 John Deere Gators on Cardinal Drive in Laplace. Upon seeing the officers, the juveniles abandoned the Gators and fled through a heavily wooded area. Officers located 2 juveniles. The juveniles were brought in for questioning with their parents. One of the juveniles confessed and led officers to 2 other gators that were also stolen during this burglary.
The juveniles were booked with curfew violation at this time while the investigation continued. It was later discovered that all 3 juveniles were involved in the burglaries on Tuesday and Wednesday. One juvenile age 15 of Laplace has been booked with 2 counts of theft and 1 count of criminal damage to property. Another Laplace juvenile age 14 and another Laplace juvenile age 16 are being sought and will be charged with the same crimes as the 15 year old. The 15 year old is being held in St. James Juvenile Detention Center.
On Thursday, June 28, 2012, Sunshine Equipment employees contacted SJSO regarding a burglary that had occurred and 3 John Deere self propelled lawn mowers, valued at $500 each, and 2 John Deere Z225 Zero turn radius riding lawn mowers, valued at $2899 each were stolen. The crime was captured on video surveillance, and investigators observed a 2 tone maroon and tan pickup truck pulling a utility trailer. Two male subjects were observed on camera using bolt cutters to make entry onto the property and loading the stolen items on the trailer.
Investigators then conducted surveillance on the business. At approximately 11:54 pm, Detective Walter Stevens observed a vehicle fitting the description from the June 28th burglary pull in front of Sunshine Equipment. One of the subjects was carrying bolt cutters approached the gate and cut the lock on the gate making entry. Detective Stevens then alerted other officers in the area. Officers converged on the property arresting Larry Bratton, B/M, D.O.B. 9/10/65. The second suspect managed to escape and was identified as Bryant Shelvin, B/M, D.O.B. 1/22/66. Both subjects are from Avondale, LA. An arrest warrant has been issued for Shelvin who has an extensive violent criminal history. Anyone coming in contact with Shelvin or has knowledge of his whereabouts is asked to contact the nearest law enforcement agency or Crimestoppers @ 504-822-1111.
The fifth burglary was also captured on video and is being investigated. The suspect in this case managed to escape with one John Deere Gator. At this time, SJSO has recovered $93,000 worth of stolen property regarding the Sunshine Equipment burglaries.
Larry Bratton, 46
Charges: Simple Burglary
Forthcoming Charges: Simple Burglary
Bryant Shelvin, 46
Charges: Unauthorized entry of a place of business
Theft over $1500