18 year old arrested for National Guard car break-ins over summer

Published 9:58 am Friday, December 30, 2016

Earlier this week, Franklinton police arrested a man suspected of breaking into dozens of National Guard cars in July.

Evantrell Tennessee, 18, was arrested on Dec. 28 and faces four counts of theft of a firearm, one count of criminal trespass, one count of vehicle burglary, 26 counts of simple burglary and 27 felony counts of criminal damage.

The vehicles were broken into while the National Guardsmen were away on training, so there were no eyewitnesses. In addition, Major Justin Brown said there were no cameras at the facility for the 205th National Guard Center on Taft Drive.

However, Brown said investigators found DNA evidence and that proved enough to link Tennessee to crimes that happened sometime on July 23-24.

“Actually it happened pretty fast,” Brown said. “Basically, whenever you have a crime like that, and you don’t have any video surveillance … you rely on forensic evidence.”

Brown said once the DNA evidence was recovered, it was sent immediately to the state’s crime lab. Once the lab tested it and arrived at a suspect, Brown said police sought a search warrant for a DNA test. Once that test linked Tennessee to the break-ins, he was arrested.

Brown said the DNA testing process took about a month, but it could have taken longer.

“It’s not typical for the DNA to be tested this fast,” he said.

Brown added that at the time of Tennessee’s arrest, he was being held in St. Tammany Parish jail, under arrest there for vehicle break-ins. In addition, based on his prior arrests, Brown said he believes Tennessee had accomplices and more arrests could be coming.

“We feel like he did not act alone in this case,” Brown said.

While the size and scope of the crime gave the case a higher profile than it might have otherwise had, Brown said Franklinton police treated the vehicle break-ins as they would for anyone else.

“We take each case and we treat it like it’s the most important case to that person at that time,” he said.