Family Caught Selling Stolen Church Goods in Front Yard
Three members of a Louisiana family have been arrested after they allegedly stole items from a church and sold them at a yard sale at their nearby home.
Clariese Jones, Paul Mikell and their daughter Olivia Jones of Slidell, La., admitted to repeatedly burglarizing the El Bethel Apostolic Ministry in Slidell, St. Tammany Police Capt. George Bonnett told ABCNews.com. The trio, who were arrested Sept. 23, stole music equipment, water coolers, electronics and generators in two separate robberies of the church, which is currently under construction.
Detectives worked on a tip that the family was selling the stolen goods at a garage sale on Brookter Road in Sidell, only a few streets away from the church site on Allen Road. Once they arrived at the Brookter Road home, detectives noticed several speakers, a CD player and other electronic items advertised for sale on the front lawn.
While inside the home speaking with the homeowners, detectives said that they also noted two water coolers in the living room and an additional speaker placed in the rear yard of the residence.
"We've recovered most of it," Bonnett said. "We're very close to having all of it - about 95 percent has been recovered."
When questioned by police, all three admitted that Olivia and Clariese Jones went inside the church building on Sept. 12 and removed multiple items while Paul Mikell waited outside in his vehicle.
However, Clariese Jones was booked on unrelated charges after deputies with the St. Tammany Parish Sheriff's Office conducted a traffic stop on the vehicle. Paul and Olivia, working with a fourth person police have identified only as Beaux, sold several of the stolen items to bail out Clariese, police said.
After Clariese was released from jail, she and Olivia went back to the church to rob it again.
Clariese Jones, Paul Mikell and Olivia Jones were arrested for simple burglary of a religious building, and are currently being held at St. Tammany Parish Jail on $30,000 bond. It is unclear if they currently have an attorney.