LAKE CHARLES, La. (KLFY)- It started with a stolen ATM machine in a bank parking lot in Westlake in July.
After further investigation detectives learned the suspects used a stolen forklift, which had been left at the scene, to load the ATM into a truck.
Later the same day, detectives recovered a truck, which had been previously reported stolen, along with the stolen ATM in the bed in Lake Charles.
Detectives learned hours prior to the ATM theft the suspects had stolen the forklift from a business across the street from the bank where the theft occurred and had stolen the truck from a business in Westlake.
On Aug. 3 Calcasieu Parish Sheriff’s Office deputies, along with Westlake Police Department officers, were dispatched to a bank on Sampson Street in Westlake in reference to a theft.
When they arrived on scene they observed the ATM in the bank parking lot to be missing. They also located a trailer and a forklift that had been left in the parking lot. During the initial investigation it was learned the trailer located at the bank, along with a truck, had been stolen from a business on Highway 90 East in Lake Charles the night prior to the ATM theft.
It was also learned the forklift had been stolen from a business on Candice Lane in Lake Charles around the same time the trailer and truck were stolen. Later the same day CPSO deputies were dispatched to Bayou D’Inde Pass in Sulphur in reference to a vehicle on fire.
Once on scene deputies located the burned truck, which they learned was the stolen truck from the business on Highway 90, along with a burned ATM, which was from the bank in Westlake.
During further investigation into both incidents detectives learned the two ATM thefts were related and the suspects stole over $150,000 total from both ATMs.
Detectives were able to identify the following members and affiliates of the Brother East (B*EAST) Outlaw Motorcycle Gang who were reportedly responsible for both thefts.
- Melvin Cupp, 46, Spring, Texas (outstanding warrant)
- Brandon Hightower, 33, Humble, Texas
- Hosea Owens IV, 28, Alvin, Texas
- Joshua Leroy Fontenot, 44, Denham Springs (outstanding warrant)
- Christopher Scott, 44, Lake Jackson, Texas
- James Hicks, 33, Huffman, Texas
- Faith Breaux, 27, Beaumont, Texas
On September 23 the Calcasieu Parish Sheriff’s Office along with the Houston Police Department, FBI, U.S. Marshal’s Office, ATF, FBI-Beaumont Branch, Beaumont Police Department, Port Arthur Police Department, Beaumont Fire & Medical, Texas Department of Criminal Justice Officer of Inspector General, Harris County Sheriff’s Office, Federal Bureau of Prisons and Texas DPS located and arrested Hightower, Owens, Scott, Hicks and Breaux.
Cupp and Fontenot currently have warrants out for their arrest and are considered fugitives.
They are all charged with theft of a motor vehicle over $25,000; theft of a motor vehicle $5,000 to $25,000; 2 counts of simple criminal damage to property $1,000 to $25,000; theft less than $5,000 over $1,000; 2 counts of unauthorized use of a motor vehicle; obstruction of justice; simple arson; 3 counts of criminal trespassing; 4 counts of unauthorized entry of a place of business; 4 counts of theft over $25,000; 4 counts of simple criminal damage to property; unauthorized entry of a critical infrastructure; and racketeering. Judge David Ritchie set Breaux’s bond at $263,000 and all other bonds at $600,000.
The Calcasieu Parish Sheriff’s Office is asking the public for assistance in locating Cupp and Fontenot.
If anyone knows of their whereabouts, they are asked to call CPSO at (337) 491-3605 or Crime Stoppers at (337) 439-2222. If anyone is harboring or assisting these fugitives in any way, they may be arrested and charged accordingly.