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Ponchatoula man arrested in Walker residential burglary

Posted: Wednesday, July 24, 2019 | Views: 3511

Ponchatoula man arrested in Walker residential burglary

From Walker Police:

A residential burglary that occurred Monday morning in Walker was resolved in the predawn hours of Tuesday with the arrest of a man from Ponchatoula, LA.

According to Walker Police Public Information Officer, Captain John Sharp, the burglary occurred on J.R. Drive in Walker. “Just after 7:00 am, the suspect arrived at the victims’ residence driving a very distinctive black pickup truck,” said Captain Sharp. “The suspect then backed the pickup truck down the driveway to the rear of the residence, out of sight of any passing vehicles or neighbors.”

Walker Police say that once the suspect’s vehicle was safely out of sight, the suspect took his time with the burglary.

“After parking, the suspect got out of the truck and made a phone call, following which he took a utility trailer belonging to the victims and hooked it up to the truck,” explained Captain Sharp. “He then began going through items of property belonging to the victims, selecting what he wanted, and loading the stolen property in the truck and on the trailer.” By 11:00 am, the suspect completed his efforts and left the residence. Shortly thereafter, the homeowners returned to the residence, discovered the burglary and called Walker Police.

Upon arrival, police learned that the victims’ residence was equipped with video security cameras. “The security cameras at the victims’ residence captured most of the suspect’s activities,” said Walker Police Chief David Addison. “The security camera footage allowed us to see the suspect, the truck he was driving and the items he took from the victims. The cameras also helped our crime scene investigator identify locations where fingerprints and DNA samples could be obtained.”

After obtaining the video footage captured by the victims’ security cameras, Walker Detectives and the Walker Police Special Investigations Unit began the process of reviewing the video. From the video, several still photos were prepared with the hope that the photos would aid in the identification of the suspect. “Our Special Investigations Unit prepared some good photographs of the suspect and the truck he was driving and published the photos to our various social media platforms,” Chief Addison stated. “We have around 40,000 people who view our social media offerings and anytime we have asked those folks for help in solving a crime, the response is always tremendous!”

Information concerning the burglary, along with the photographs were published to the Walker Police Department’s social media system at approximately 9:30 pm Monday night. By 11:30, the post had reached over 30,000 people and police had received over 100 tips, including several which would lead Walker Detectives to the suspect.

“We received a large number of tips from people anxious to help,” said Chief Addison. “When you are receiving a lot of information in a case like this, it can be difficult and time consuming to go through it all. Fortunately, the detailed
description of the suspect developed from the precise examination of the security video allowed our Detectives to quickly focus their efforts on one suspect.”

Following up on the tips received concerning the likely suspect, Walker Detective Douglas Mincin verified the information gathered from the social media responses, as well as information obtained through other sources. Once Detective Mincin completed a review of the evidence and the information generated through his investigation, a warrant for the arrest of Colin Fitzpatrick (32) of Ponchatoula, LA was obtained. Along with officers from the Ponchatoula Police Department, Mincin went to Fitzpatrick’s residence in an effort to locate him. Fitzpatrick was found in the garage of the residence, sorting through the property items taken during the Walker burglary and was arrested without incident.

After he was taken into custody, Fitzpatrick admitted to the burglary. He was then transported to the Livingston Parish Detention Center for booking. “Mr. Fitzpatrick was charged with Theft, Simple Burglary, Simple Burglary of an Inhabited Dwelling and Criminal Trespass,” Captain Sharp reported. “He is being held on a $50,000.00 bond and additional charges are possible.” Sharp reported that the investigation remains ongoing.

According to Walker Chief Addison, the quick resolution of the burglary was the result of good police work and Community cooperation. “The impact of social media on law enforcement is truly remarkable,” Chief Addison stated. “The importance of diligent and outstanding police work has not changed. But unlike the past, where we would review facts and evidence, develop a suspect and then spend a substantial amount of time working to identify the suspect and put a name with a face, we are now able to put a suspect’s photograph and description on our social media system, and in about 30 seconds, that information has been distributed to over 40,000 people. Of course, the usefulness of social media is limited to the willingness of its users to provide law enforcement with the information needed to solve a crime. We are fortunate and very grateful that our Community is so supportive of our efforts and is always willing to provide us with the assistance we need. The involvement of our Community in such matters is what gives us the ability to keep Walker a safe place to live and work.”