LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) - Lake Charles Police say a career criminal is off the streets. Now accused in a string of home invasions and assaults, the suspect, Johnathan Lee Charles, could face life in prison.
"Let me point this out - he's 28 years old - he's been arrested 38 times. Obviously he is a menace to society. He is a predator. He has no business on the streets," said Lake Charles Police Chief Don Dixon.
Charles' 39th arrest has him accused in several home invasions in the East Prien Lake Road and East Roosevelt area. The first two cases occurred on October 11th.
"One of them in which a female victim was fondled and a description was given," said Dixon.
Dixon says all of the victims were women who lived alone and based on their descriptions of the perp - investigators suspected Charles, who had been arrested in the area on August 11th for burglary. But police didn't have any evidence to tie Charles to the home invasions until the night of October 13th. A 9-1-1 call came from the same victim claiming she had been assaulted again by the same assailant.
Police responded to the neighborhood with dogs, patrol officers and detectives. Not long after they had their suspect in sight, a foot pursuit ensued with Johnathon Lee Charles arrested moments later.
"As a result of that arrest and subsequent two search warrants - in which we believe we have recovered clothing used in the October 10th and October 13th home invasions and assaults," explained Dixon.
Dixon says they've been able to clear a total of 6 cases and the Calcasieu Sheriff's Office has cleared an additional case. And because he has two prior felony convictions, the Calcasieu District Attorney's Office says they'll explore prosecuting Charles as a habitual offender.
"We now have in custody a man who could have caused a whole lot more damage than he did. Because he was caught early these are the kinds of things that escalate. These are the kinds of people we need to get off the streets," said District Attorney John DeRosier.
Charles is being held on a 250-thousand dollar bond. Investigators say he knew the victims through a mutual friend, but denies any wrong doing. If convicted and sentenced under the habitual offender statute, Charles could be sentenced to life in prison.