Jackson Co. Investigators Bust Burglary Ring In St. Martin

ST. MARTIN (WLOX) -- The tranquility of Bienville Drive is a stark contrast from the turbulent ring of crime that has encompassed this St. Martin neighborhood for weeks.

"You never think it's going to happen in your backyard until it happens. Then when it happens, it's too late," Wallace Powell said.

Powell lives two doors down from the home where police arrested 20-year-old Laura Hodge and 27-year-old Kenneth Absher, the couple that investigators say were running an extensive burglary ring that circled this street.

Snatching GPS systems, laptops, even stealing from the local church: their computers, surround sound system, and printers.

"Who would want to do that? It doesn't belong to them you know," Powell said.

It didn't take long for the burglary ring to hit Wallace Powell at home. Last week he came out to take a look at his boat, and instantly he noticed these wires were cut and his boat's motor was gone.

But the motor didn't travel far. The sheriff's department tracked it down in the same neighborhood, making five more arrests and recovering stolen property at each of the homes.

Capt. Mick Sears says there were more than a dozen burglaries, but the motive was always the same.

"To get money to buy drugs," Capt. Sears said.

Investigators aren't sure how far this burglary ring has expanded, but Powell hopes the bust will put an end to whatever has torn his neighborhood apart.

"I hope it's broken up and the people who did these things have a change of heart. We should be working together, not taking from one another," Powell said.

Mike Ballard, Jackson County's lead investigator on this case, says more arrests will follow this week. If your car has been broken into or your home burglarized in the past three weeks, but did not file a police report, you might want to contact the Sheriff's Department. Ballard says you might be able to reclaim your property if it was involved in this case.