Break-ins at two Central City businesses under investigation, police say

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New Orleans police are still investigating two separate business burglaries in Central City, a bike theft and a pair of vehicle break-ins off Tchoupitoulas, they said this week.

In the first business burglary, the Dollar General in the 2800 block of S. Claiborne Avenue was burglarized around 5 a.m. July 13, said NOPD Sgt. Dean Herrick at the Sixth District’s weekly meeting of ranking officers.

The manager of the Dollar General came to check the location after the burglar alarm went off to find the back door forced open and the store ransacked, with boxes of merchandise open and scattered on the floor, Herrick said. A pry bar apparently used to open the back door was left on the scene, and investigators are testing it for DNA, Herrick said.

A store next door to the Dollar General has surveillance video that showed a man moving boxes by the dumpster behind the store, Herrick said. The security guard there told police he recognized the man as a frequent customer at both stores, Herrick said. The guard did not know his name, but said the suspect is known to hang out on General Taylor and Foucher streets, so investigators are working with the store’s corporate office to pull an image of the man from the video to distribute to the public, Herrick said.

Another business burglary occurred the next day at the Brown Derby located in the 3400 block of Baronne Street.

Around 3:15 a.m. July 14, police responding to a burglar alarm found the front glass door of the store smashed out and the register area rummaged through, Herrick said. Surveillance video shows two men removing boxes from under the register and taking liquor from the store, and Herrick said police were able to get several fingerprints from the counter and register area. The video is dark because the lights were out, Herrick said, but investigators are trying to extract usable images from it.

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Investigators are also looking for a suspect who stole a bicycle in the 2300 block of Sixth Street.

The victim had loaned her Panama Jack bicycle to a friend who called the police July 17 to report the bicycle was stolen, Herrick said. The man borrowing the bicycle said he chained and locked the bicycle in the rear alley of the apartment complex, went inside for about 20 minutes and came back out to find the chain cut and the bicycle gone, said Herrick.

Police are in the process of retrieving the surveillance video of the apartment complex as well as sending out a photo of the bicycle, Herrick said.

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Finally, Sixth District police are investigating two vehicle break-ins the same night at the Centennial Place Apartments in the 1700 block of Tchoupitoulas Street.

The first vehicle was locked around 10 p.m. July 13, Herrick said. The victim came out of the apartments around 6:45 a.m. July 14 to find his front driver window smashed and his wallet missing, though his his credit card and driver’s license were left behind, Herrick said.

Police were then alerted to another vehicle broken into as well. It had been parked around 9:30 p.m. the night before, and its owner came out at around 7 a.m. to find the front window smashed in as well, but nothing was reported missing from the vehicle.

“The two are definitely related,” Herrick said.

Police do not have any video or fingerprints for either case yet, Herrick said.

Commander Bob Brady urged his officers to do a better job with trying to recover fingerprints off of crime scenes, and urged them to get the videos and photos out to the public quickly.

“Let’s try and get a lot of these videos out,” Bardy said. “These folks help out a lot with that.”

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