Jul 182013
 

Nine robberies in the Garden District and Lower Garden District areas. Not shown: a home invasion case in the 2300 block of Magazine (which is classified differently on NOPD crime maps).

A woman visiting the Garden District was robbed of her purse at gunpoint Wednesday morning, the tenth robbery in 10 days and marking Uptown’s first severe rash of robberies this year.

With the exception of a trio of attacks by bat-wielding teens, most of the cases do not show clear links to one another, New Orleans police officials said Wednesday. Significant evidence, such as photos or DNA, has been recovered in most of the cases, however, so the investigations are all considered active.

In the most recent case, a visitor in her 60s from out of town was in the 1200 block of Harmony Street (near Camp) around 9:40 a.m. when she noticed a dark-colored sedan nearby, said Sgt. Daniel Scanlan during the weekly meeting of the Sixth District leadership Wednesday. The driver of the sedan got out, pointed a gun at her, and demanded her purse, then got back into the sedan and drove off, Scanlan said.

A witness who saw the car leaving described it as a new black Kia with a temporary license tag in the window and a Ray Brandt dealer plate in the license-plate holder — such a specific description that it should prove a promising lead, Scanlan said.

Wednesday’s robbery comes on the heels of nine other muggings, carjackings and a home invasion in the Garden District and Lower Garden District areas that Sixth District detectives are all investigating as well. They are as follows:

  • A woman was robbed at gunpoint by a man just before 3 a.m. Saturday, July 7, at Annunciation and Thalia.
  • A man who parked near Clio and Carondelet around 9 p.m. Sunday, July 8 was attacked by two men who punched him, then stole his keys and his white Ford Focus. The car was later found on Calais Street in New Orleans East, Scanlan said, and several items inside are being tested for DNA.
    That case may have another lead — a link to a similar carjacking about a month earlier, Lt. Frank Young said at the meeting: Both vehicles were found in the same area, and investigators are waiting to see if the DNA is a match.
  • A man walking in the 2500 block of Magazine around 11:15 p.m. July 8, was robbed by two men, one of whom hit him in the head with a gun before they fled in a silver vehicle. Detectives have obtained video of the suspects (seen below) and have been receiving good information on the case, so they are hoping to identify them soon, Scanlan said.
  • Keith Williams (via opcso.org)

    Three robberies on Clio, Camp and Coliseum streets were all committed around 11 p.m. Wednesday, July 10, by a group of three people who were using a baseball bat, and in one case beat their victim so severely he had to be hospitalized. One of the suspects, Keith Williams, was chased by a witness, caught by police, and identified in all three cases, police said.
    Surveillance video in the area shows a second suspect with Williams just before the arrest, Scanlan said. Williams is also suspected in several other robberies of iPhones by “brute force” in the French Quarter and New Orleans East, Young said, and investigators are examining possible accomplices in those cases to determine who man have been with him the night of the Lower Garden District spree.
  • Suspect in Terpsichore robbery. (image via NOPD)

    Late Friday evening, July 12, a 23-year-old woman walking home from work in the 1600 block of Terpsichore confronted by a man with a knife demanding her purse, and she was cut several times as they struggled over it.
    Video was obtained in the case, and images were released Thursday morning of a black man in his late 20s or early 30s, about 5-foot-8 and 170 pounds. He is considered armed and dangerous, police officials said.
  • Around 4:30 a.m. Sunday, July 14, a 29-year-old man in the back parking lot of a home in the 2300 block of Magazine was ordered inside by gunmen who forced him into a closet while they took his belongings. That case also has several leads, Young said, but declined to elaborate on them.
  • Around 2 a.m. the same night, a man was walking home from the Warehouse District had reached the 1300 block of Tchoupitoulas when a white Lincoln Navigator pulled up alongside him, Young said. From a rear window, a man asked where he was going, then got out with a gun, poked him with it and ordered him into the car, Young said. A woman was driving the SUV while the gunman and another man went through the victim’s pockets, and they pushed him out of the vehicle shortly afterward, Young said.
    The robbery was not reported until around 8 p.m. Tuesday evening, Young said. Detectives have identified several locations along the route of the SUV that may have video, he said.

Anyone with information about any of the above cases is urged to call the NOPD Sixth District detectives at 658-6060 or, to leave an anonymous tip that could be eligible for a cash reward, call CrimeStoppers at 822-1111.

The robberies come after a lull of several months. Over the last year, the entire Sixth District has averaged only one armed robbery per week, crime statistics show, and at the half-year point the district was down 62 percent in armed robberies over the same period in 2012.

“This is so far out of our character,” Sixth District Commander Bob Bardy said of the robberies Wednesday.

While the investigative leads represent the most direct avenue to stopping the robberies, Bardy instructed his platoon lieutenants to examine their patrol officers’ activity. The district was significantly down in vehicle stops and arrests over the past week, which makes no sense when crime is happening, Bardy said. Bardy also noted that there are 15 known people wanted on warrants for various property crimes, and instructed his task force to find and arrest those people.

After the recent wave, the district has seen 31 robberies, still down about 45 percent the 57 recorded by this point in 2012.

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  • http://papercutpath.tumblr.com/ Paper Cuts

    Whatever happened to foot patrols? When I see cops in the Sixth district, they’re usually on Magazine and usually sitting in their car.

    • DE

      I think about this a lot. When I need to run an errand I try to walk whenever possible, especially during the day. It really is incredible how much more you notice when you are not inside of a car with the windows rolled up, AC blowing, and the radio on. The same goes for riding a bike. I often have the same thought, that foot patrols would be much more effective.

      But. If I were a cop, the last thing I would want to do is leave the protection of my cruiser and wander the streets of some neighborhoods in New Orleans. And I certainly wouldn’t want to do it alone.

      Furthermore, while a foot patrol may be protective, it is not very reactive. A cop on foot would take much longer to respond to any emergency call. They also would cover a significantly smaller footprint per officer when on foot, requiring more officers to police the same area.

      So, while I agree with your argument, I highly doubt it could ever be implemented here, especially with city funding the way it is. Instead of police foot patrols, perhaps just having a more active, pedestrian-friendly neighborhood would help deter crime.

      • http://papercutpath.tumblr.com/ Paper Cuts

        I agree, but I wonder if we can’t implement a few neighborhood officers to get to know those in the community. I really feel this would make for a more proactive rather than reactive police force. I live near Magazine and my neighborhood is very pedestrian-friendly. That’s why I moved to this area and I try to walk as much as possible, but I don’t always feel safe. I hardly ever see cops in my neighborhood. Even just driving. That’s my point though, the cops stick to Magazine. If they are going to sit in their cars, can’t they at least cruise the area with the windows open stopping to chat with people instead of literally sitting on Magazine with the windows up and the a/c on?

  • Richard Dunn

    only 1 of the 10 crimes listed took place in the garden district.

    • UptownMessenger

      Richard, the article does say “in the Garden District and Lower Garden District areas,” but what about the two cases in the Garden District section of Magazine Street?

  • Joanne Hilton

    3 crimes. 2300 Magazine, 2500 Magazine, Harmony Street.

  • chris

    It would be nice if the police would patrol their district. The only time you see a cop in the LGD is after a serious crime has been committed. The criminals and vagrants are getting more and more bold since they know there aren’t any police around. People have begun ringing my door bell at 1am to beg for money and the police refuse to do anything.

    • http://papercutpath.tumblr.com/ Paper Cuts

      Wow! Do you think they’re really begging for money or to check to see if anyone’s home? That’s a scary thought. We really need more police presence in the LGD.

    • Owen Courrèges

      Agreed. The NOPD is not understaffed and the lack of patrols seems pretty apparent to me.

  • Comments

    I live uptown but not in the Garden City. So close, that I am actually unsure of what my area is called as I am just a two year old new New Orleanian. But I am so thankful that UM reports on this, because otherwise we really wouldn’t know and I would slip into a feeling of “no worries, I live Uptown.” I don’t have an answer but I think not focusing on the source of the problem will not fix anything. I spend a great deal of time in the Garden District, I think is is obvious the security patrol is not working. I think first off the Uptown neighborhood coalitions should get together and brainstorm workable, practical solutions. Calling the criminal names, and just off the cuff anger is not helpful. Perhaps the Messenger could organize a summit of Uptown neighborhood groups P.s. Midcity needs it too.

  • awentworth

    So sorry for all that the victims of these crimes have been through. My spouse and I left the area because we have an infant child and wanted to live in a safer place. We had been considering looking for property in that area one day but I don’t see us moving back. Glad to have such honest reporting–thank you.