St. John couple arrested for stealing $40K worth of tequila
A LaPlace man and a Garyville woman were arrested on Tuesday, June 29, 2021 for stealing several boxes of tequila valued at about $40,000 as well as automotive batteries valued at about $5,000.
James Lester Watson, 52, and Kristi Marie Rizzo, 40, were booked with theft by fraud – less than $1,000 (misd); and simple burglary– movable structure. Watson is being held in custody in lieu of a $41,500 bond. Rizzo also was charged with possession of marijuana 1st offense (C2A) (misd). She is being held in custody in lieu of a $44,500 bond.
On Monday, June 28, about 10 a.m., officers responded to a hotel on U.S. 51 in LaPlace in reference to a vehicle burglary. Upon arrival, the hotel guest, the driver of an 18-wheeler, reported to officers that several boxes of tequila were taken from an unlocked trailer.
On Tuesday, June 29, about 8 a.m., officers responded to the same hotel in reference to another vehicle burglary. Upon arrival, the hotel guest, the driver of an 18-wheeler, reported to officers that the trailer’s security lock was damaged and automotive batteries were removed from the trailer.
Through investigation, officers developed Watson and Rizzo as suspects and located them and their vehicles. Officers learned that Watson and Rizzo were renting several rooms at the same hotel where the burglaries occurred.
Based on investigation, officers obtained several search warrants. Warrants were executed, and several bottles of tequila were located at local businesses. Officers also located the batteries in Rizzo’s vehicle. Rizzo was in possession of marijuana at the time of her arrest.
Rizzo also was charged with cruelty to animals for leaving her dog in her vehicle during extreme heat and with no food or water.
This investigation is ongoing, and more charges on possible.