[StBernard] Man In Ski Mask Terrifies St. Bernard Residents

Westley Annis westley at da-parish.com
Fri Dec 19 22:42:35 EST 2008

Man In Ski Mask Terrifies St. Bernard Residents

POSTED: 4:17 pm CST December 19, 2008
UPDATED: 4:24 pm CST December 19, 2008

VIOLET, La. -- A man in a ski mask is terrifying neighbors in one St.
Bernard Parish subdivision, breaking into their houses while they are home.

The burglaries happened in the Angelique subdivision in Violet. Rev. John
Bailey said people in his neighborhood are very afraid.

The crime is aggravated burglary and it carries a big penalty -- 30 years in
jail if caught and convicted.

"I been talking to several people in the community and they are terrified,"
Bailey said. "They are very afraid right now to come outside and some of
them (have) been talking about buying guns to protect themselves."

Resident Beverly Payne became a victim of the burglar.

"He was wearing a black hood, just able to see his eyes and his mouth when
he talked," Payne said.

She met him hiding in her living room early Thursday. She said her husband
left for work about 5 a.m., and the side door was left open. She was
cleaning the house when she looked up and caught a movement in the mirror.

"My mind went, 'No, you didn't see that!'" Payne said. "When I looked back
the person jumped out, and I said, 'Oh Lord.' And he said, 'Give me your
purse. Give me your purse.' So I paused. More than likely, I was in shock.
He grabbed my purse and ran out this door right here."

And with him went $3,000 in Payne's Christmas savings.

The week before, the prowler tried to break into Bailey's house when his
wife was home alone.

"It was a black guy. He had a ski mask over his face so she really couldn't
get a good description of him, and he's been wearing a mask," Bailey said.

And on Sunday, another victim fought off the masked intruder as he tried to
push open an unlocked door, Sheriff Jack Stephens said.

"The potential for catastrophe is high in this case because if someone knows
there is an individual in that house, they are well aware a confrontation
could result," Stephens said.

Stephens said his office is getting incredible cooperation from victims and
the community. He expects to clear the case soon.

"I thank God for my life because he spared me," Payne said. "Because
anything could have happened."

Meanwhile, if you have any information about the person committing the
burglaries, you're asked to call the sheriff's office at 504-271-2501, or
call CrimeStoppers at 504-822-1111

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