Alert neighbor helps thwart would-be bank robbery

Crime Scene Investigation

NEW ORLEANS – New Orleans police say reports of three men breaking into an abandoned home helped prevent a bank robbery that was set to happen just minutes later.

The NOPD and FBI New Orleans Violent Crime Task Force arrested Arlander Celius, Samuel Taylor III, and Jonathan Baham on burglary charges Wednesday.

Around nine that morning, officers responded to a call of the man at an abandoned house on Cohn Street in the Leonidas neighborhood.

Upon arrival, officers say they found Celius, Baham, and Taylor wearing heavy, dark-colored clothing and masks, and carrying a 12-gauge shotgun and a handgun.

The trio was taken to the police station, where detectives say they linked the evidence to a previous bank robbery that happened September 7 on General DeGaulle Drive.

Police say further investigation revealed they were conspiring to rob a bank on South Carrollton, but officers arrived at the abandoned home on Cohn Street just minutes before the robbery was set to occur.

Celius is charged with simple burglary, possession of a firearm by a convicted felon and simple criminal damage to property in the Cohn Street incident.  Baham and Taylor are each charged with simple burglary and simple criminal damage to property in the Cohn Street incident. Taylor was also arrested on federal bank robbery charges in the General DeGaulle incident.

All three were taken into federal custody and face pending charges of conspiracy to commit bank robbery.