Lower Garden District’s “Refrigerator Bandit” sentenced to 20 years for burglaries

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Jerry E. Yates (via opsco.org)

A house burglar police dubbed the “Refrigerator Bandit” for his penchant for snacking during break-ins was given a 20-year prison sentence for his lengthy record of convictions, court records show.

Jerry E. Yates, 48, was connected to a string of a dozen break-ins last fall in the section of Magazine around Melpomene and St. Mary, police said at the time. He would often pass up expensive electronics on his way to raid the refrigerator, seemingly favoring lasagna over laptops and fruit over jewelry, police said at the time. Prior to his arrest in early October, Yates had begun collecting more tangible items, with his last theft including a bicycle and a knife that police found on him at the time of arrest.

Following his arrest, Yates was placed on medical and suicide watches in the Orleans Parish Jail, court records show. After a judge found him mentally competent in February, Yates was scheduled for trial last week, but instead pleaded guilty to burglary, telling the judge he was on prescription anti-psychotics and drinking heavily at the time of the burglaries, the court docket says. Based on burglary convictions in 1989, 1993 and 2003, prosecutors charged Yates as a repeat offender, and he was sentenced to 20 years in prison, court records show.

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