Victim’s Voice: Veteran’s ‘livelihood’ was in truck that was stolen

“Those tools in the truck are his life. My dad is 72 years old. He’s a Navy veteran. He’s built houses with his bare hands. This just got to me.”

A 72-year-old Navy veteran found out his truck was missing early Monday morning after a text from his daughter, who lives next door to him.

Nikki Erckert said she was leaving her home around 4:45 a.m. when she stepped outside and didn’t see her father Donald Brouillette’s 2018 Dodge Ram 2500.

“I noticed one of his trucks wasn’t there so I texted him ‘where you at?,” Erckert said. “He said he was in the house. Then I asked him where his truck was. He said he didn’t know.”

Brouillette’s vehicle was locked and the keys were with him in his home near Audrey Dr. in Baton Rouge but that didn’t stop suspected thieves from pulling off in the pickup truck.

“I told him he needed to take inventory of all the tools in the truck and call the cops,” Erckert said. “The police showed up and made a report.”

Surveillance footage from Brouillette and Erckert’s homes show glimpses of the suspects running up the street and right up to the truck.

“You can see them running up from Carmen (Drive) and right up to the truck,” Nikki said. “I guess they were checking vehicles up and down the street. It was about 4:35 a.m. It all happened in a matter of two or three minutes.”

As of the afternoon on Oct. 24, Erckert said none of the neighbors on their street had anything stolen.

Brouillette’s tools are important to him because he builds homes for a living, according to his daughter. He remodeled his own home after it flooded in 2021.

“After all the adrenaline rush, I settled down and thought about how they took his livelihood,” she said. “Those tools are his life. My dad is 72 years old. He’s a Navy veteran. He’s built houses with his bare hands. This just got to me.”

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