Gonzales Police make arrest in Home Depot theft ring

Staff reports

On May 30, 2012 at approx. 0900 hrs the Gonzales Police Dept. responded to the Home Depot in reference to 2 b/m subjects that ran out of the store pushing buggies loaded with power tools.

The subjects were able to make away with approx. $3, 484.35 in merchandise, Gonzales detectives then picked up the case based on a previous theft. Gonzales detectives along with the District Investigator for Home Depot identified as Katie Klingler then notified the other Home Depot stores on the I-10 corridor and put out a BOLO for the suspects. The suspects were then found to have entered the Airline Hwy. Home Depot at which time BRPD was notified, BRPD then attempted to apprehend the suspects at which time a foot pursuit in to the woods ensued. The suspects were un-able to be located after an extensive search by BRPD authorities.

A short time later St. Landry Parish interdiction units made a stop on a silver Dodge vehicle on I-49, as a result of the traffic stop, boxes of power tools were located inside the vehicle. With the assistance of the Dist. Investigator (Klingler), Gonzales detectives were able to identify the merchandise and suspects as the ones responsible for the theft at the Home Depot in Gonzales. Subsequent to the traffic stop 20 yr. old Marquis Bennett, b/m, 7817 Castillo Rd. Ft. Worth, Texas/ 19 yr. old Xzavion Gardner, b/m, 3277 N. Polo Club Dr. Ft. Worth, Texas and 20 yr. old Curtis Lusk II, b/m, 9201 St. Martin Rd. Ft. Worth, Texas were arrested by Gonzales P.D. detectives and charged with the theft.  Reports of the apprehension then aired on the local news which sparked calls from other Home Depots.

In the days following it was found that Klingler was working in conjunction with the Home Depots in Texas due to reports that two of the subjects had committed thefts in Ft. Worth, Abilene, Grandberry and Wetherford Texas. It was advised that the subjects were being called the pepper spray bandits or the Nixon group, this was due in part that when the subjects would leave the store and employees would try to stop them the suspects would threaten employees with pepper spray to get away. Gonzales detectives then received calls from other stores confirming the information and filing reports with local authorities in Texas. It was then reported that two Lowe’s stores in Allen and Carrolton Texas were hit by the same suspects, a call was received from a police dept. in Edmund Oklahoma reporting that a Home Depot had been hit there, as well as a store in Oklahoma City. The estimated amount of items stolen in Texas from the Home Depots is valued over $10,000 in merchandise lost.

In all, 9 Home Depots in three states Louisiana, Texas and Oklahoma was hit, two Lowes Stores in Texas were also hit by the suspects and two other attempts in Baton Rouge. The three suspects are currently being held in the Ascension Parish Jail on $15,000 bonds.