February 06, 2017  |  04:21 pm

Two suspects are behind bars and warrants have been issued for a third, after St. Tammany Parish Sheriff’s detectives solve a series of burglary cases that spanned three states.


On Dec. 22, 2016, the St. Tammany Parish Sheriff’s Office received reports that the coin operated air compressor units at several local gas stations had been burglarized.


Detectives with the St. Tammany Sheriff’s Property Crimes Division quickly learned that this was part of a much bigger operation.


A total of forty-nine air compressors had been burglarized, damaged and had their funds stolen from them in multiple jurisdictions in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama. A total of $23,520.25 had been taken and the total cost of the damage is estimated to be more than $28,000.


Surveillance video footage from the local gas stations showed a green, older model Chevrolet Tahoe occupied by two male subjects. On the surveillance videos, the two male subjects can be seen using a cutting torch to force entry into the air compressor units and stealing the funds from within them.


From the surveillance videos, St. Tammany detectives identified Gary Mucha (DOB 08-26-1980) of 2120 Boardman Boulevard, Gulfport, Miss.
Mucha was arrested in St. Martin Parish on Dec. 27, 2016 alongside John Middleton (DOB 08-04-1980) and Brandy Johnson (DOB 10-06-1982) both of 12104 Three Rivers Road, Gulfport, Miss. after the trio was caught preparing to break into a coin operated device there.


On Jan. 19, St. TammanyDetectives located Mucha in the Harrison County Jail, in Gulfport, where he was arrested for burglarizing a coin operated compressor unit there.


Mucha confessed to his involvement in the burglaries in St. Tammany Parish and a warrant was issued for his arrest as well as for the arrests of Middleton and Johnson.


On Jan. 25, with the assistance of the Harrison County Sheriff’s Office, St. Tammany detectives located and arrested John Middleton at his residence in Gulfport. He too confessed to his involvement in the burglaries in St. Tammany Parish.

Middleton was extradited to the St. Tammany Parish Jail on Feb. 2, and arrested on the previously obtained warrants for the following violations:
5 counts of Louisiana R.S. 14:62 (simple burglary/felony)
5 counts of Louisiana R.S. 14:56.1 (criminal damage to a coin operated device/felony)
5 counts of Louisiana R.S. 14:67.B.4 (theft under $750.00/misdemeanor)
5 counts of Louisiana R.S. 14:95.A.3 (illegal carrying of weapons burglary tools/misdemeanor)


Mucha is currently awaiting extradition to St. Tammany Parish from Harrison County. Upon being transferred he will be charged with the following violations by the St. Tammany Parish Sheriff’s Office:
5 counts of Louisiana R.S. 14:62 (simple burglary/felony)
5 counts of Louisiana R.S. 14:56.1 (criminal damage to a coin operated device/felony)
5 counts of Louisiana R.S. 14:67.B.4 (theft under $750.00/misdemeanor)
5 counts of Louisiana R.S. 14:95.A.3 (illegal carrying of weapons burglary tools/misdemeanor)


When Johnson is apprehended she will be charged with the following:
1 count of Louisiana R.S. 14:62 (simple burglary/felony)
1 count of Louisiana R.S. 14:56.1 (criminal damage to a coin operated device/felony)
1 count of Louisiana R.S. 14:67.B.4 (theft under $750.00/misdemeanor)
1 count of Louisiana R.S. 14:95.A.3 (illegal carrying of weapons burglary tools/misdemeanor)
The investigation is ongoing, and additional arrest and charges are expected.

Assistant Public Information Officer - Contact Information
Deputy Suzanne Carboni – 985-809-8227 or suzannecarboni@stpso.com