Two arrested for theft of baby gators, attempted car burglary

Two arrested for theft of baby gators, attempted car burglary

POSTED: Friday, July 13, 2012 - 3:00pm

UPDATED: Friday, July 13, 2012 - 3:04pm

8th District officers spotted, chased and arrested a would-be car burglar Wednesday. Once they pulled his record, they found he was wanted for stealing baby alligators from the Audubon Zoo’s gift shop on July 4.

Sgt. Mark Mumme was patrolling the 900-block of Poey Farre Street at about 9:45 p.m. on Wednesday, July 11 when he noticed 29-year-old Rodney L. Thornton pulling on several door handles of parked cars. When Mumme approached Thornton, Thornton took off, so Mumme requested back-up. One responding officer saw Thornton pull a gun from his waistband, and drop it on the ground as he continued to run. The gun was recovered, and officers apprehended Thornton when he chose to run through an open lot.

Once they looked up Thornton’s record, officers learned that Thornton had been identified as one of two men who abandoned a container of live baby alligators near the intersection of Soraparu and Rousseau Streets on July 5. The men then took off in what turned out to be a stolen car.

Kawayne Powell, 20, who was also wanted in the stolen alligators case, turned himself in at the Second District Police Station yesterday at about 10:00 a.m. He was booked with Possession of Stolen Property, and had previously been arrested for Simple Criminal Damage to Property, Unauthorized Use of a Moveable, Trespassing and Warrants.

Rodney Thornton was booked with Illegal Possession of Things (Alligators), Possession of a Firearm by a Felon, 2 Counts of Armed Robbery, Attempted Armed Robbery, Tampering and Resisting a Police Officer. He was previously arrested for Burglaries, Attempted Burglary, Possession of Burglary Tools, Possession of Marijuana, Possession of Drug Paraphernalia, Theft, and Possession of Stolen Property under and over 500.00 and Cruelty to Animals.

“Our officers did some outstanding work to make this arrest last night. This suspect- who was trying to break into any car with an unlocked door, was carrying a gun, and was capable of committing a violent crime if our patrol officer hadn’t noticed his behavior,” said Superintendent Ronal Serpas.

“This is a clear cut example of the fact that most criminals are not specialists…they’re generalists. This suspect's crimes range from marijuana possession to 2 counts of armed robbery. This is why the System needs to recognize the beginnings of criminal patterns and make it clear: Commit a crime, and there will be consequences,” Serpas said.

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