Two cases solved by Picayune Police Department

Published 11:37 pm Wednesday, June 17, 2009

A suspect in the robbery at a local check cashing business and the suspect in the burglary of two veterans’ clubs have both been arrested and charged with their alleged crimes.

The first suspect, Jason Thomas Serpas, 33, of 1008 Chestnut Dr., has been linked to the robbery of Check into Cash in Picayune, which took place in April.

Picayune Police Deputy Chief David Ervin said Serpas also is being charged with crimes in St. Tammany Parish, La. Ervin said the joint investigation between the departments in Picayune and St. Tammany Parish link Serpas to a number of robberies in St. Tammany Parish as well as the incident in Picayune.

Sign up for our daily email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

Serpas’ method of operation have led to the charges against him in Picayune, Ervin said. The incident in Picayune took place April 29, when Serpas allegedly entered the local business and displayed a handgun, demanding cash. He fled the store on foot.

Serpas was caught in St. Tammany Parish on May 25, when he was caught allegedly in the process of another robbery in Slidell, La., Ervin said. Detective Blaine Heath said Serpas is believed to have committed about five robberies in that area. Once Serpas faces charges in that state he will be extradited to Picayune to face an armed robbery charge.

Two burglaries that took place at the local American Legion and the VFW also ended in an arrest. Ervin said the suspect’s name is Donald Deakles, 44, of 741 Bouie Rd. He is being charged with two counts of commercial burglary.

The burglary of the American Legion took place on May 10, where he allegedly took money, including money from fund raiser jars, and damaged a number of other items in an attempt to get money, Ervin said.

The burglary of the VFW took place on April 24, where Deakles allegedly used an electric company tool to cut power to the building and broke in. During the burglary he allegedly damaged and took money from an ATM, a juke box and some pool tables.

A warrant was issued for Deakles’ arrest after enough evidence was gathered by investigators Heath and Ray Rickoll under the supervision of the Criminal Investigations Division Commander Jeremy Magri, Ervin said. Deakles was arrested on Monday.

“The investigators did an excellent job obtaining evidence which led to this arrest,” Ervin said.

The investigation is continuing to see if any unsolved crimes may be linked to Deakles.