BATON ROUGE (WAFB) — Law enforcement released the names of three suspects in connection with a burglary at a pawn shop that is allegedly part of a larger conspiracy for an attack against police officers, according to Baton Rouge Police.
Officials say investigators learned that at least four men were plotting to violently attack police officers. Part of that alleged plot included breaking into the Cash America Pawn Store on Government Street for guns to commit the crimes.
Three of the four people involved have been arrested and six of the guns have been recovered.
Police arrested 17-year-old Antonio Thomas, 20-year-old Malik Bridgewater, 23-year-old Trashone Coats, and a juvenile in connection with the burglary. However, a fourth suspect in the burglary and plot to attack police is still at large.
Investigators with the Baton Rouge Police Department responded to a burglary call on Saturday, July 9 around 2 a.m. Police said that surveillance footage showed the alleged burglars breaking into the business through the roof using a ladder. The suspects are accused of stealing eight handguns as well as one airsoft BB gun.
Thomas was arrested at the scene with a handgun and BB gun in his possession. They say the suspect told police that he and at least three others were responsible for the burglary.
Thomas told investigators the men were plotting to use the stolen guns to attack police officers and they were actively seeking bullets to use with the guns. Investigators say no ammunition was recovered, but they do not believe any was discovered.
The suspect also told police the plot was due to the officer-involved shooting death of Alton Sterling.
Police say this is the first credible threat among many regarding possible harm to police officers. They say they have also investigated threats and rumors related to protesters.
After receiving this information, BRPD contacted federal investigators for assistance. They say an immediate investigation was launched at they have been actively working the case “around the clock” since then. The investigation is a joint effort between BRPD, Louisiana State Police, East Baton Rouge Sheriff’s Office and ATF assigned to the Violent Crimes Unit.
On Monday, a raid was conducted at a Baton Rouge home that was connected with this case. Police recovered two more handguns in the possession of Coats, who allegedly bought them illegally on the street.
Police found three more of the stolen handguns when they arrested Bridgewater at his house Sunday.
Thomas, Bridgewater and Coats were booked into parish prison. Coats was released Tuesday.
Thomas and Bridgewater were both charged with simple burglary and theft of a firearm. Coats was charged with illegal possession of a stolen firearm.
Police said a 13-year-old male was arrested Monday and charged with simple burglary and theft of firearm.
Additionally, police have not yet identified the fourth suspect. They are asking the suspect to turn himself in.
Anyone who has any information regarding this case is asked to call Crime Stoppers at (225) 344-7867.