DeRidder man arrested for looting
A DeRidder man was arrested in Vernon Parish on Friday after being caught in the act of looting a Leesville-area home.
Travis James, 29, was arrested by the Vernon Parish Sheriff’s Office after a homeowner reported finding James in his home upon returning to inspect his property after evacuating the area ahead of Hurricane Laura.
According to Sheriff Sam Craft, the property owner returned to his home in the area of La. 10 near Sandy Hills to find the front door of his home and his garage door open.
The property owner also told authorities he found an unknown vehicle with a trailer attached loaded with his own belongings parked behind the residence.
The property owner had been accompanied by a friend who is a retired Baytown, Texas, police officer who was armed at the time. The armed retired officer and the homeowner entered the residence and reported finding an unknown individual, later identified as James, asleep on the floor of the residence.
The property owner also realized that James was dressed completely in the homeowner’s clothes, including his own shoes.
The retired police officer held James at gunpoint as the homeowner called VPSO for assistance.
When authorities arrived at the scene, detectives located all of the homeowner’s firearms, and some additional stolen property, in James’ vehicle.
It was also learned that James is on felony probation with the Louisiana Department of Probation and Parole.
James was transported to the Vernon Parish Jail where he was charged with one count each of Looting, Criminal Trespassing, Unauthorized Entry of an Inhabited Dwelling, Theft of over $5,000, Aggravated Burglary, Possession of a Firearm by a Convicted Felon, Possession of a Schedule II narcotic (methamphetamine), and Possession of a Firearm with an Obliterated Serial Number.
He was also charged with five counts of Possession of a Stolen Firearm.
Bond has not been set and James remains in the VPSO jail.
Sheriff Craft said James’ arrest should serve as a warning to the community that this type of behavior would not be tolerated in the parish, and that he had ordered an increase in patrols throughout the storm-damaged area.