Suspect in Violet church robbery arrested
Back to Main MenuReal Estat rayban e TransfersBack to Main MenuLocal Grocery AdsSpecial SectionsLocal AdsLagniappeCourtesy of the St. Bernard Parish Sheriff’s OfficeChurch robbery suspect Herman “Peter” Smiles, in custody of the St. Bernard Parish Sheriff’s OfficeA 45 year old man on parole for a previous burglary conviction was booked early Wednesday with stealing Christmas presents for needy children from a Violet church over the weekend, according to the St. Bernard Sheriff’s Office. Sunday, filled six bags with the goods and carried them to his home in the , said Chief Deputy Jimmy Pohlmann.Detectives focused on Smiles after they identified another man as a person of interest in the case. When they brought that man in for questioning, he told them that Smiles pulled off the heist, Pohlmann said.Ted Jackson / The Times PicayuneParishioners sort through the sea of donated gifts, sorting them for specific children and elderly in need. Relatives consented for a search. They found nearly all of the 65 missing presents clothing, shoes and toys in his room. Wednesday and booked him with burglary of a religious building and a parole violation.Smiles allegedly confessed during questioning. According to Pohlmann, he told detectives that he broke into the church shortly after smoking crack. He allegedly searched for money but instead stumbled upon a stack of wrapped presents, stashed under a wooden crucifix.There, Smiles reportedly told detectives, he unwrapped gift boxes and rifled through gift bags for nearly an hour. He allegedly stuffed them into several bags and made two trips carrying them to his room in his mom’s house, about 300 feet away.He allegedly intended to sell some and keep others. But hawking the stolen items off so soon after the robbery would’ve been hard rayban , Pohlmann said. Potential buyers would’ve been reluctant about becoming involved in such a high profile case or possibly would’ve tipped police off that someone was in possession of items likely taken from Our Lady of Lourdes.”It’s an unusual case,” Pohlmann said. “Someone broke into a church, during Christmas time, to steal gifts for the needy . Our detectives just beat the street until they solved the case.”The Sheriff’s Office believes Smiles cut himself on the way in to the Church. They found blood and bloody fingerprints in several areas, including on the side of the tabernacle and on a door case behind the baptismal fountain. They also found footprints of a size 11 or 12 shoe outside the church, tipping detectives off that the robber stored the goods somewhere within walking distance, Pohlmann said.Smiles served a sentence in prison from 1995 to 2006 after a previous aggravated burglary conviction, according to the St. Bernard Sheriff’s Office.Members of Our Lady of Lourdes, , worked vigorously to identify needy children in their community devastated by the effects of poverty and Hurricane Katrina. They then bought them Christmas presents, wrapped them and planned a giveaway rayban .Courtesy of the St. Bernard Parish Sheriff’s OfficeChurch robbery suspect Herman “Peter” Smiles sits in custody at the St. Bernard Parish Sheriff’s Office, near bags stuffed with stolen presents that were recovered from his home early Wednesday, Dec. When they arrived to prepare f rayban or Sunday Mass, they found only torn wrapping paper and empty boxes and bags.Only one present a pair of boys’ pants in a green and red gift bag remained untouched, sitting directly under Jesus’ legs at the foot of the cross.After word spread of the crime, people from across the metropolitan area and as far as Wisconsin and Ohio showered the church with new presents and cash donations. By Tuesday night, gifts were piled on the floor about seven feet deep along several of the church’s walls. The Boy Scouts in Metairie donated 15 bicycles. The Salvation Army stuffed nylon crawfish bags with toys.Instead of receiving just one or two presents as originally planned, the children braced to receive a sack about the size of a yard bag packed with gifts. Our Lady of Lourdes, it turned out, amassed a mound of Christmas joy much larger than it ever expected.The Sheriff’s Office returned the gifts to the church by late Wednesday morning, officials said.Arnone said Wednesday that parishioners spent the time since Sunday identifying several more families in need. They plan to give them the overflow presents.
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