"We expect that his arrest will clear a great many burglaries and vehicle thefts that my Department and numerous other law enforcement agencies in Livingston Parish and surrounding Parishes have been working to solve."
A man wanted by Walker Police in connection with numerous residential and vehicle burglaries is now in custody. Cullen Pitre (25) of Denham Springs was arrested Thursday and booked into the East Baton Rouge Parish Prison. Walker Police believe Pitre broke into several homes, outbuildings, and vehicles, as well as two City of Walker Sewer Lift Stations in the Pendarvis Lane, Rebecca Drive and Brian Park areas of the City during the early morning hours of February 19 before stealing a pickup truck belonging to one of the victims and fleeing the area, unseen.
Walker Police Spokesman, Captain John Sharp attributed Pitre’s arrest to good old fashion police work. “In cases like these, where there are no witnesses, identifying a suspect can be tedious and time consuming. Recognizing that fact, locating the stolen vehicle was a priority. Vehicles are identifiable and may contain physical and forensic evidence that can help identify an offender,” reported Captain Sharp. “We immediately provided area law enforcement agencies with a description of the stolen truck, hoping it would be spotted. Our Officers also processed the numerous crime scenes, collecting fingerprints, shoe tracks and DNA samples. Although fingerprints and DNA samples can be critical in solving cases, especially where there are no witnesses, matching a name with the fingerprints and DNA obtained at a crime scene can be a lengthy process.”
The break Walker Police needed came the following day when the St. Helena Parish Sheriff’s Office found the stolen truck abandoned on a dirt road north of the Livingston/St. Helena Parish line. “Our Detectives processed the truck, looking for anything that would help identify the offender,” Captain Sharp explained. “Among the contents of the truck were items that appeared to be stolen property, as well as an assortment of trash. While digging through the truck’s contents, Detectives found a single scrap of paper that was the clue we needed; a date and time stamped receipt from the Dollar Tree in Watson. The receipt was dated February 20 and the transaction occurred around noon that day. This told our Detectives that several hours after the burglaries, the offender made a purchase in Watson before abandoning the truck in St. Helena Parish.”
Walker Detectives then went to the Watson Dollar Tree and viewed the store’s surveillance video from the date and time shown on the receipt. The video showed the stolen truck pulling into the parking lot and two men getting out and entering the store, then leaving after making a purchase. “Detectives obtained a copy of the video which was turned over to my Department’s Special Investigations Unit,” said Walker Police Chief David Addison. “The SIU enhanced the video and prepared a 10 second clip of the men entering the store, as well as several still photos of each man to provide to my Officers and to other law enforcement agencies. The SIU was then instructed to publish the video clip and still photos to our social media system and request assistance from the public in identifying the suspects. As soon as the video and photographs were posted to social media, the crime tips began pouring in!” Within a few hours, Walker Police had positive identification on both suspects.
Walker Detectives located and met with one of the suspects and after interviewing the man, they determined that the investigation should focus on the remaining suspect, identified as Cullen Pitre. Based on information Walker Police obtained through their investigation, a warrant was issued for Pitre’s arrest, describing Pitre as “armed and dangerous.”
As the search for Pitre began, Walker Police learned that Pitre, a convicted felon, had no permanent address and stayed with various friends and other known associates in the area. With the help of the Livingston Parish Sheriff’s Office, Pitre’s known associates in Livingston Parish were questioned about his whereabouts. With the assistance of the Iberville Parish Sheriff’s Office, Walker Police also questioned a close relative of Pitre living in Iberville Parish. Because Pitre is on parole, assistance from Louisiana’s Office of Probation and Parole was also enlisted. Through Probation and Parole, Police found that Pitre had failed to check in with his Parole Officer, prompting that agency to issue a parole detainer for him. To increase the number of agencies actively looking for Pitre, other area law enforcement agencies were also provided with information regarding Pitre. In addition, Chief Addison again instructed the Walker Police Special Investigations Unit to prepare and release an updated social media advisory regarding Pitre, asking the public for help in locating the fugitive. The updated social media advisory was posted to social media Wednesday evening.
In addition to information about Pitre, the updated social media post also contained a warning addressed to anyone who helped Pitre evade arrest, stating that any such person would be arrested. According to Captain Sharp, “Information developed during our investigation suggests that one or more people providing aid and assistance to Mr. Pitre. We want those persons to understand that helping a fugitive avoid capture is against the law, that we are actively investigating that matter and that we intend to arrest anyone found to have helped Mr. Pitre.”
A member of the Louisiana State Police Violent Crimes and Fugitive Task Force saw the updated social media advisory and recognized Pitre. On Thursday morning, after recalling a location that Pitre frequently visited, the Officer and other members of the Fugitive Task Force visited the location, a motel on Thomas H. Delpit Drive in Baton Rouge. There, the Task Force found Pitre. In his possession was a stolen handgun with an obliterated serial number, a small quantity of methamphetamine and a small amount of marijuana. Pitre was arrested without incident and Walker Police was contacted with the news. Pitre was then booked into the East Baton Rouge Parish Prison.
“We are grateful for the assistance provided by the Livingston Parish Sheriff’s Office, the St. Helena Parish Sheriff’s Office, the Iberville Parish Sheriff’s Office, Louisiana Probation and Parole and the Louisiana State Police Violent Crimes and Fugitive Task Force,” said Chief Addison. “Everyone involved did a tremendous job! We especially want to extend our appreciation to our social media community for circulating our advisories and for all the tips and information they provided. It appears that Mr. Pitre was a one-man crime wave. We expect that his arrest will clear a great many burglaries and vehicle thefts that my Department and numerous other law enforcement agencies in Livingston Parish and surrounding Parishes have been working to solve. In addition, we are aggressively pursuing other individuals involved with Mr. Pitre in the commission of these burglaries as well as those persons who helped Mr. Pitre evade capture by providing him with aid and assistance. To those people, we are coming to get you.”
Pitre remains in the East Baton Rouge Parish Prison. “Due to a parole detainer, Mr. Pitre is being held without bond on charges related to his unlawful possession of a firearm, possession of Schedule I and Schedule II narcotics, and on the Walker Police Department fugitive warrant related to burglary charges,” said Captain Sharp. “Addition charges against Mr. Pitre are expected, as are additional arrests.”
Contributed by Walker PD