Local police report that a Habitat for Humanity project located in Lake Charles has been the subject of several attacks. They are searching for the persons said to be responsible. Once found, the responsible person or persons will likely be charged with a crime.
Reports indicate that the housing has been the subject of repeated efforts to steal copper wiring. In one case, a Habitat for Humanity worker was assaulted when he unknowingly stopped by during an alleged theft. With only weeks to go before some of the homes are set to be completed, efforts are increasing to end these break-ins. The Habitat for Humanity construction superintendant said the homes will be monitored more closely until they are completed.
As we all know, the last few years have been challenging economically. Many people are struggling to make ends meet as they work through job loss, pay cuts or other difficult situations. Unfortunately, some people feel that they need to turn to illegal measures in order to support themselves. While we don’t know for sure, that may be the case for the individuals who have been taking the copper wiring from these homes. By selling it, they may be getting money that helps put food on the table.
However, no matter the reason for a crime, Louisiana authorities do not take theft lightly. Those who have been charged with a crime have a legal right to defend against the accusations. These fundamental rights include the ability to confront any witnesses offering testimony against an accused and the right to review and challenge all evidence.
Whenever a person is charged with a crime, in Lake Charles or elsewhere, the state must prove the accusations made before any conviction can be obtained. This proof must include evidence that convinces the court of guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. This high standard often offers hope to individuals facing serious charges and places the responsibility where it squarely belongs: on the shoulders of those making the accusations.
Source: KPLC 7 News, “String of crimes raises concerns about Habitat for Humanity home,” Holly Carter, April 24, 2012