Palm Beach Gardens security guard dies from injuries trying to stop copper thieves

$20 worth of scrap cost a man his life

PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. - After two-and-a-half months fighting for his life in the hospital, a Palm Beach Gardens security guard has died from injuries he received after being assaulted.

Palm Beach Gardens Police announced Monday they have launched a homicide investigation into the death of 61-year-old Jacques Novembre.

Officers say on July 14th around 1 a.m. the 61-year-old unarmed guard was beaten badly while trying to stop a metal theft from happening in the back of Promenade Shopping Plaza.

On September 29th, doctors told Novembre's family members that he had died from his injuries.

Police say the thieves were trying to steal backflow prevention devices, which are pipes on the back of businesses that filter water and contain copper.

Thieves have been targeting metals like copper to sell for scrap and earn cash.

They say Novembre was about 6' 2' tall, weighed 220 pounds and loved his job. Because of his size, investigators speculate more than one person may have been involved in his death.

Investigators don't have many leads and are now asking for the public's help. So is Novembre's widow, Arianne, who was distraught at Monday's news conference.

"He was a very nice friendly person. I don't know why anybody would do that to him. Please, anybody...she said before covering her face and crying. She then added, "if anybody knows something please step forward."

Arianne said the last two-and-a-half months have been very hard on the family.

"It was terrible for me," she said. "I was 180 lbs. Now I'm 150 lbs. I've lost 30 lbs. just from watching him suffer."

"We spent so many hours at the hospital," Novembre's stepdaughter Maryse Joseph said. "And I don't want anybody else or any family to be in that situation."

Especially over what police say was maybe $20 worth of copper.

"It's a senseless crime," Palm Beach Gardens Police Chief Stephen Stepp said. "$20 worth of scrap cost a great man his life and it's totally senseless and we really need the community's help."

Businesses in the shopping plaza have posted signs in their windows offering a reward hoping anyone can help bring this family some closure.

Prime Cuts Salon Owner Charles Capers has been in disbelief since he heard the unarmed security guard was beaten in the back of the shopping center. Capers said Novembre helped many customers of Prime Cuts over the past two years as a security guard.

"In the evenings he would walk the girls out to their cars and you know even help someone with car trouble," Capers said. " He was just a very well liked person."

A maintenance worker, Mike Kinne, said thieves had already taken two of the devices from behind the shopping plaza before they were confronted by Novembre.

"It's one of those stupid things man," Kinne said. "There's no reason for it."

Palm Beach Gardens Police say they don't have too many leads to go on so they really need the public's help. If you have any information you're urged to call the Palm Beach Gardens Police Department or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-458-TIPS.

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