Two young teens — ages 13 and 14, so police cannot release their names — have been charged in one cluster of three robberies, including an case Saturday in the 1600 block of South Jefferson Davis Parkway, said NOPD Lt. Shaun Ferguson at the Second District’s weekly meeting of ranking officers. Investigators are trying to identify a third teen also involved in that group, Ferguson said.
Another teen was arrested in a robbery case at State and South Robertson, and he is believed to be an associate of the same group, Ferguson said.The majority of the rest of the cases — around 10 armed and simple robberies — are linked to group of adults who have been seen fleeing Uptown robbery scenes in a Hyundai Santa Fe SUV, Ferguson said. That vehicle was found Wednesday morning outside the New Orleans area, and investigators are pursuing new leads as a result, Ferguson said.
Meanwhile, investigators had also asked for the public’s help in finding a man named John Lawrence they wanted to question about the robberies, and Ferguson said he has also been located and is no longer needed in the investigation.
As the investigation progresses, the wave of robberies seems to have broken already. The most recent case was at Milan and Derbigny, and while it was reported Tuesday, it actually occurred Sunday morning, Ferguson said — the victim didn’t call police until he saw the SUV in media reports and realized his robbery was related to a larger spree.
“We have nothing at this point in time to believe the two groups are linked,” Ferguson said.
Detectives have been working around the clock to solve both groups of robberies, said NOPD Second District Commander Paul Noel.
“We’ve got a lot of things rolling right now,” Noel said.
The Second District did not experience a similar spree of robberies last year, leading to a steep decline in robberies for the year — a 10-year low of 58 reported cases. The recent week’s waves, by comparison, would have accounted for about two months’ worth of robberies at last year’s rate in the Second District, which is why Noel said Ferguson has directed so many of his investigators to focus on getting the perpetrators behind bars.
“If we don’t solve them, they keep occurring,” Noel said.
With the SUV and the “person of interest” both located, the Second District only has one other request for residents for the time being, Noel said: “Be vigilant.”