Six more people were arrested in separate looting cases Wednesday in Central City, and police credit the vigilance of neighborhood residents in helping officers stop the crimes while they were still in progress.
One looting call was at a club on Martin Luther King Boulevard near South Robertson, where a man and a woman were seen breaking in by a citizen, said Lt. Frank Young of the NOPD Sixth District Investigative Unit. When police arrived, they found the couple inside, trying to steal liquor and loose change from the bar, and both were booked on looting charges, Young said.
In a separate case, a corner store was at Jackson and Magnolia was broken into by five people, and four of the suspects were arrested on looting charges when a resident called it in, Young said. Both cases happened during the day, before the curfew was instituted, and follow the looting of a business at Seventh and Danneel that police stopped in progress on Tuesday night, Young said.
“In all three looting cases, citizens called 911 as they saw people breaking in,” Young said. “They’re not going to tolerate it, and we caught them in the act as they were inside.”
A few scattered residence burglaries have been reported as well, Young said, but no more than occur during a normal week. Young said he was only aware of one curfew arrest as of 10:30 p.m.: a resident in one of the riverside neighborhoods saw a man near a house with the window partially open and the air-conditioning unit pushed aside, and while there was not enough evidence to book the man with attempted burglary, he was taken to jail on outstanding warrants and a curfew charge, Young said.
The Sixth District is operating under a looting plan that calls for fixed patrols around known targets for looting, such as Walmart, Magazine Street and other areas with concentrations of businesses, Young said. The key to the success of the anti-looting effort, however, is continued vigilance by citizens, Young said.
“If you hear a loud noise and look out the window, and see someone beating on doors and trying to force their way in, call 911,” Young said. “We have people strategically placed and they’ll be there. That’s what we’re out here for.”