Four accused in theft ring at Academy stores

By Mary Meaux | Port Arthur News

Three females from Port Arthur and one from Beaumont are jailed in Louisiana for what law enforcement is calling a theft ring. The females reportedly stole and attempted to steal fire-resistant clothing from three Academy Sports and Outdoors stores in Louisiana.

At about 2:28 p.m. June 15 a loss prevention person at the Academy in the 300 block of Louisiana Avenue in Lafayette allegedly saw the four individuals concealing items and when she approached the women, she asked if they needed assistance, Lafayette Police Sergeant Robin Green said.

The females dropped all of the items, which were described as fire-retardant clothing, and left the store; however, the loss prevention employee was able to get a description of the vehicle and license plate number. Law enforcement was contacted and it was soon learned the four women allegedly went across town to another Academy store, this one in the 4200 block of Ambassador Caffery Parkway, and got away with an amount of the fire-retardant clothing. A description of the vehicle was given and police were able to tie the two crimes together.

The Lafayette Parish Sheriff’s Office has a real-time crime center and can monitor cameras around the city and were able to monitor, in real time, the vehicles used in the crimes. Green said this was instrumental to apprehension of the four females in Scott. While taking inventory of the vehicle before it was towed police reportedly found items that had been stolen from an Academy store in Lake Charles, she said.

Kiatasha Gums, 35; Danielle Chratain, 37; and Erney’Sha Nelson, 17; all of Port Arthur, and Regina George, 41, of Beaumont, are charged with organized retail theft and felony attempt at retail theft. Gums, Chratain and George each have bonds totaling $100,000, and Nelson has bonds totaling $25,000, according to information from the Lafayette Parish Correctional Center.

Green said it appears as if the females were stealing specific items from the stores with the intent to sell them. These types of clothing are typically worn in plants. Due to the dollar amount of the items stolen, the crimes are felonies. A lieutenant with the Lake Charles Police Department said the cases involving the four females were closed Monday due to the business not providing certain information to police. The lieutenant confirmed the alleged theft occurred June 15 at an Academy store in Lake Charles.

The Port Arthur News is a sister paper of the American Press.

 

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