Officers on patrol stopped 23-year-old Christopher Tunson earlier this week on Napoleon Avenue near Freret Street, and saw that he had his sleeves covering his hands — a common tactic of car burglars trying to avoid fingerprints, said NOPD Second District Lt. Doug Eckert at Friday’s departmental meeting of ranking officers.
Tunson was actually walking with another man who took off running when police approached, Eckert said, but investigators were able to identify Tunson from an earlier car-burglary case on Coliseum Street that had been caught on “unbelievably great video,” Eckert said.
Tunson is currently in jail charged with one count of burglary, but detectives are continuing to investigate his involvement with other car break-ins in the area near Napoleon and the river, Eckert said.
“We know he’s responsible for at least four auto burglaries in that area,” Eckert said.
Police are still working to identify the man who was with Tunson at the time of the arrest, as well as a woman with him in the Coliseum Street video, Eckert said. But since Tunson’s arrest, what had been a daily series of burglaries has “completely stopped,” said NOPD Second District Commander Paul Noel.
Noel said that the private surveillance camera footage played a crucial role in the Tunson’s apprehension, and encouraged residents to look into either the ProjectNOLA system or the new SafeCam NOLA network.
“It’s really helping us solve cases,” Noel said. “It’s just adding to the cases where I can say, we would have solved it without the cameras.”
Meanwhile, Eckert said the majority of the auto break-ins continue to be vehicles that are unlocked, many with people’s belongings in plain sight. Some people say they leave their cars open so their windows won’t get smashed, but very few of the burglaries involve broken windows, he said — they are primarily just people walking down quiet streets, checking for open car doors.
“We’re begging people to lock their doors,” Eckert said. “Take your valuable out and lock your doors.”