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Would-be robber fended off by gun, arrested

Originally ran here as:
"Would-be robber shot in Cut Off"
by Staff Reports
Daily Comet
February 14, 2002

CUT OFF, LOUISIANA -- A local man being charged with two counts of burglary was awaiting surgery at Charity Hospital in New Orleans after he was shot twice by a man whose car police report he tried to steal.

Randal Owen, 23, 170 E. 57th St. in Cut Off, has been charged with two counts of burglary after he reportedly broke into the back of Collins Big Star Supermarket in Cut Off and then later attempted to steal a vehicle at 14413 E. Main St. also in Cut Off, a Lafourche Parish Sheriff's Office report said.

The vehicle's owner, Kerry Gaspard, fired shots from a 9-mm pistol and shortly afterwards, officers found Owen lying on the front porch of another home nearby.

The incidents began around 9:15 p.m. when a resident living next door to Collins Big Star spotted someone breaking into the supermarket and called the store's owner, Francis Bruce.

After he arrived, Bruce's 15-year old son heard someone inside the store, so he and Bruce waited outside the store for the Sheriff's Office to arrive, the report said.

Police say the suspect got into the store by breaking the lock on the back door with a crowbar. When the suspect heard Bruce at the back of the store, he left through the front, breaking his way out through a glass door and full-length glass panels.

Police found the crowbar inside the store.

At the time, witnesses described the burglar as a man of medium build who was wearing a dark jacket.

They say he ran north along La. 308 after Bruce fired a shot in the air.

Patrol officers arrived within two minutes of receiving the call, but the suspect had already left the scene, the report said.

Detectives were sent to the scene to investigate the burglary.

Shortly before 11 p.m., the Sheriff's Office received another call reporting an attempted auto theft at Gaspard's residence, which is located about 1.5 miles north of Collins Big Star Supermarket.

After Gaspard had fired shots, K-9 Officer Dean Savoie and his dog, Tosca, were able to track the suspect from the scene of the attempted auto theft to the porch were he was found, the report said.

Savoie also recovered a dark leather jacket with two bullet holes in it, which was placed in evidence, the report said.

Owens was transported to Lady of the Sea Hospital with two bullet wounds in his shoulders, the report said.

He was treated and transported to Charity Hospital, where he is expected to undergo surgery.

Police say Owen has a long criminal history and is currently on probation for burglary in another state.

Larry Weidel, a Sheriff's Office spokesman, said the Sheriff's Office was planning on referring the investigation over to the district attorney's office but no charges would be filed against Gaspard by police.

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