FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Sergeant Brian McGregor
Office: (504) 712-2252
Kenner cops say couple again burglarizing neighbors
Kenner police say a couple arrested in December on charges of burglarizing Metairie homes while out for stroll are again targeting their neighbors. Justin Melgar, 23, and Brittney Dashner, 22, are accused of looting three homes just blocks from their Kenner residence.
Dashner, who confessed the couple's roles in the burglaries, told authorities they pawned the stolen property for drug money, according to Sgt. Brian McGregor, spokesman for the Kenner Police Department. Melgar and Dashner live at 3108 Kentucky Ave., arrest reports said.
They are accused of stealing from a neighboring residence in the 3100 block of Kentucky Avenue on Aug. 12 and breaking into two houses two streets over, in the 3000 block of Iowa Avenue, on Aug. 6 and Aug. 26, McGregor said. The couple is also accused of stealing a jackhammer from the bed of a pickup truck in the 3100 block of Kentucky Avenue on Aug. 23.
In each of the house burglaries, the thieves smashed a window at the residence and made off with electronic equipment, including a laptop computer, video game systems and a camera. Jewelry was also reported stolen.
Kenner detectives discovered that on the same day of each burglary, items matching the descriptions of the stolen property were sold at a Metairie pawn shop, arrest reports said. In some cases, investigators say Melgar recruited friends to sell his ill-gotten goods.
Detectives identified Melgar and Dashner as suspects after viewing surveillance footage of the couple accompanying a third person to sell the stolen property at the pawn shop on Aug. 12, an arrest report said. The other sellers told investigators that Melgar asked them to pawn the objects for him because he had no identification, which is required by pawn shops.
Kenner investigators obtained warrants for the couple's arrest on Aug. 30. They were arrested that day in the 3500 block of Apollo Drive in Metairie, the report said. They were booked Aug. 31 at the Jefferson Parish Correctional Center in Gretna with three counts of simple burglary of an inhabited dwelling and felony theft, McGregor said.
Dashner was booked with an additional charge of simple escape. No information about that charge was available Friday. Her bond was set at $115,000. Bond for Melgar was set at $150,000.
Jefferson Parish Sheriff's Office deputies arrested the then Metairie-dwelling couple in December after another law enforcement officer spotted them breaking into a home in the 2500 block of Aleatha Street in Metairie, authorities have said. Melgar and Dashner were accused of burglarizing three Metairie residences and hiding some of the stolen property in the stroller of Dashner's 2-year-old son.
The Jefferson Parish district attorney's office charged the couple on June 27 with simple burglary and three counts of simple burglary of an inhabited dwelling. Melgar was also charged with a fourth count of burglarizing an inhabited dwelling. The case is scheduled to for trial on Sept. 23.