Cops: Officers catch man breaking into truck at airport parking garage

Published: Nov. 30, 2021 at 9:20 PM EST|Updated: Dec. 1, 2021 at 6:49 AM EST
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CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - A Goose Creek man is behind bars after police officers say they caught him breaking into a truck at the Charleston International Airport.

The Charleston County Aviation Authority Police Department charged 47-year-old Joseph Stephen Laporte with breaking and entering a motor vehicle, and damaging or tampering with a vehicle.

It happened on Tuesday when police officers say they received a tip about someone pulling on door handles, and then saw Laporte entering a truck that didn’t belong to him.

Laporte told officers that he had flown in to Charleston and a family member had left the vehicle for him, but officers said there were inconsistencies in Laporte’s story including the family member not knowing anything about leaving a vehicle for him.

Tip leads to investigation and arrest

On Tuesday morning, a passerby told authorities that there was a man on the second floor of the parking garage who was pulling on car door handles.

An officer then found a man, who matched the description of the suspect, approach a pickup truck, pull on the door handle, and open the door. Authorities said the man, later identified as Laporte, carefully closed the door to minimize the sound.

When the officer approached Laporte and asked him why he entered the truck, Laporte said he had flown from Iowa to Charleston, and his brother-in-law left a pickup truck in the parking deck for him with the keys in it to use.

After officers spoke more with Laporte they said they realized he was not speaking truthfully.

According to police officers, Laporte’s story changed several times to include what flight he arrived on, the age of his children and where they were in school. In addition, police said they spoke to the brother-in-law who said that he no longer speaks with Laporte, and did not know anything about leaving a vehicle in the parking garage for him.

The brother-in-law also said he does not own a pickup truck.

Police said the surveillance video showed Laporte moving around the parking deck, between rows of vehicles and occasionally stopping. Authorities said the video showed Laporte stopping at an SUV and pulling on the driver’s door handle in an attempt to get in.

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