(BATON ROUGE, La.) — Baton Rouge police are hunting for the fourth suspect in a burglary at a pawn shop that’s believed to be part of a wider plot to kill law enforcement in the Louisiana capital.
Eight handguns and an airsoft BB gun were stolen from Cash America Pawn on Saturday before 2 a.m., police said. Of the four suspects who were involved in the robbery, three have been arrested and one remains at large. One suspect told police he was looking for bullets to attack officers in the Baton Rouge area, according to the Baton Rouge Police Department.
Police said they consider the threats credible.
Six of the missing firearms have been recovered since the burglary. Baton Rouge Police Chief Carl Dabadie, Jr. said it appears the suspects were unsuccessful in their attempt to steal ammunition.
One of the suspects, a 17-year-old, was arrested on the scene in possession of a handgun and a BB gun. The teen told police during questioning that he and the three other suspects stole the guns and were going to get bullets to shoot police. He was booked into parish prison for simple burglary and theft of a firearm, police said.
A 13-year-old male suspect was apprehended Sunday and charged with simple burglary and theft of a firearm, police said.
Another suspect, identified as 20-year-old Malik Bridgewater, was also arrested Sunday at his home and charged with burglary and theft of a firearm, police said, noting that detectives recovered three of the stolen handguns from him.
Police have not identified the fourth suspect, who is still at large, but are asking that he turn himself in.
Detectives also recovered two of the stolen handguns from 23-year-old Trashone Coats, who allegedly purchased them illegally on the street. He was charged with illegal possession of a stolen firearm.
Surveillance video shows the suspects using a ladder to climb to the roof of the building, where they broke into the pawn shop, police said. The shop owner told investigators it doesn’t appear that any bullets were stolen.
Several law enforcement agencies are investigating the threat, including Louisiana State Police, the East Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff’s Office and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. The investigation is ongoing.
Police said they beefed up their presence in Baton Rouge due to the “very real and viable threats to law enforcement” in the area following the officer-involved shooting death of Alton Sterling last week, which has sparked dozens of anti-police brutality protests across the nation.
In and around Baton Rouge, heavily armed police clad in riot gear have been seen clearing the crowds of demonstrators. The aggressive police response was also due in part to the information obtained after the pawn shop burglary, according to East Baton Rouge Sheriff Sid Gatreaux.
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