Disclaimer: All persons are presumed innocent until proven guilty.
SHREVEPORT, La. (KTAL/KMSS) – A rash of recent burglaries had the Highland and Spring Lake neighborhoods on edge, but Shreveport Police say they have arrested the man responsible.
The alleged suspect is no stranger to detectives.
On September 3rd Amanda Marshall came home to a house she and kids didn’t recognize.
“Everything had been opened and gone through,” said Marshall.
Her Spring Lake home had been burglarized. She says precious items from the home were taken, like a wedding ring and her great-grandmother’s ring. Also stolen, electronics, her kids’ bikes, and something you wouldn’t expect.
“Meat out of our freezer,” she said.
Also taken were snacks out of her pantry, a sign the burglar stayed for a while and was not very concerned about being caught. According to Shreveport Police Property Crimes Investigator Noah Ruff, there’s a reason.
“When I pull him up in our report system I see that he has incidences going back to before I was even alive,” said Ruff in talking about James Edwards of Shreveport.
He’s a 54-year-old career criminal with plenty of reports.
“When I pull him up in our report management system, it’s over 100,” added Ruff.
The reports have resulted in 42 arrests over 33 years all for non-violent offenses.
Court records show Edwards has routinely been arrested, prosecuted, jailed, and freed, only to commit the same crimes once again.
“It makes you wonder why somebody gets a slap on the wrist who is this deep in the criminal system,” said Marshall’s boyfriend Chris Hamm, who had two of his guns stolen in the burglary of the home. Hamm is thankful no one was home at the time.
“I could have killed a guy,” said Hamm. “That’s your first thought. You know, in your mind that’s what your thought process is, I’m in harm’s way. I need to take this guy out.”
Marshall has other security measures at her home, like a video doorbell camera. She checked it while police dusted the house for fingerprints and was surprised at what she saw.
“He had rang my doorbell at 1:57 a.m. in the morning,” said Marshall. “And so I took a screenshot of his picture and I put it on Facebook, the cops were still here. And within minutes people were messaging me, ‘Oh yeah, that’s the guy that broke into my house on Monday’. ‘Oh, that’s the guy that robbed me in 2020’. And we knew instantly who he was.”
Investigator Ruff would not provide a specific number but says Edwards is being investigated for numerous burglaries. Amanda would.
“I’ve been told that he is suspected in 14 other burglaries since April,” said Marshall.
According to Ruff, the current charges Edwards is facing and the volume of crimes he’s been linked to this year might finally serve as his downfall.
“I’m confident that when we go before the judge when we go before the District Attorney, we’ll go up there with a caseload of several at one time to say this is not going anywhere. We have to do something about it,” he said. “With the totality of everything that we got, I’m confident that we’re going to make it stick,”
Marshall hopes so because the crime has her questioning where she and her kids lay their heads each night.
“It makes me question like, do I want to stay in Shreveport? That’s kind of where I’m at now,” she said. “Because if he gets out there will 100 percent be more [victims] and I want to do what I can to try and stop it.”
According to Caddo Parish Correctional Center records, Edwards is currently being held on 10 burglary and theft-related charges. Ruff says more charges are expected in the coming days.
If you’ve been a victim of a crime committed by Edwards, Shreveport Police would like to hear from you. Please call 318-673-7300 and ask to be connected to the Property Crimes Division.