Ponchatoula, LA – A vigilant group of residents took matters into their own hands to stop a burglary spree in their neighborhood on Saturday, Jan 27, 2024. The incident, which led to the arrest of two individuals and the pursuit of a third, unfolded in a dramatic clash between homeowners and the alleged criminals.
The Tangipahoa Parish Sheriff’s Office reported that the confrontation was part of an effort to apprehend a trio involved in a series of home and vehicle burglaries. The suspects were also accused of attempting to sell stolen items from a U-Haul truck parked outside a local tobacco store.
The situation escalated when homeowners in the Creekside subdivision spotted one of the suspects, later identified as 27-year-old Zachary Lafleur, attempting to flee the scene of a burglary. A homeowner, upon discovering Lafleur burglarizing his home, called out for assistance. A neighbor, who had also been a victim of Lafleur’s alleged burglary, rushed over to help. Despite their efforts, Lafleur managed to break free and tried to escape in a truck. In a bid to stop him, one of the homeowners shot out the vehicle’s tires, effectively immobilizing it. However, Lafleur escaped on foot.
Shortly thereafter, another neighbor, alerted by his home security system and informed about the ongoing burglary attempts, discovered Lafleur asleep in a truck on his property. This quick-thinking resident detained Lafleur at gunpoint until law enforcement arrived.
As deputies investigated further, they received tips about a U-Haul truck involved in the scheme, which led to the arrest of Amber Skelton at the scene while attempting to sell stolen goods. The third suspect, Branson Monistere, managed to evade capture and is currently wanted on multiple charges.
Lafleur faces charges including residential and vehicle burglary, attempted burglary, simple criminal damage to property, and illegal possession of stolen items. Skelton was charged with residential and vehicle burglary and illegal possession of stolen things. Authorities are actively seeking Monistere for related crimes.
This incident serves as a stark reminder of the risks and potential dangers involved in confronting criminals directly. While the homeowners’ actions led to the apprehension of two suspects, such confrontations can escalate quickly and unpredictably. It underscores the importance of community vigilance and cooperation with law enforcement to maintain safety and security.