Cops and Robbers
They've got their guns out again: The bad boys are running lose again, robbing three people in the French Quarter and Marigny Triangle in the last 3 days. Again, these are expurgated accounts, since Capt. Edwin Hosli, commander of the NOPD's 8th District, continues to censor the victim's name, address, age, sex and race (more on that later) from the police reports made available to us:
- Bienville and Clinton streets, Sunday, 5.20.07, about 2 a.m., a black man coming out of a bar said he was robbed by another black man who took $80 in cash from him and 2 silver chains, one valued at $4,000 and the other at $8,500. The report is so abbreviated it doesn't list a description of the perpetrator.
- 1917 Burgundy St., Monday, 5.21.07, at about 8:30 p.m. the victim, a deliveryman for China Wall restaurant, was making a delivery when he was approached by a black male, who pointed a dark handgun at him and stated, "Give me all the money". The victim complied and handed the perpetrator $5. A witness, who was awaiting the food delivery, came out of his residence and asked the perpetrator what he was doing. He heard the perpetrator ask the victim for money to eat. The perpetrator then looked at the witness and fled on Burgundy towards Pauger Street. The witness noticed the deliveryman was visibly upset and asked him what happened. The deliveryman, who spoke very little English, stated,"He had a gun, he took my money".
A canvass of the area by police located a camera attached to the house at North Rampart and Pauger streets. A follow up revealed it was not working at the time of the incident. Duh? Great crime prevention.
- 700 block of Dumaine Street, Monday, 5.21.07, about 10 p.m. the victim was walking home when a black male on a mountain bike wearing all dark-colored clothing stopped along side of him and pointed a black semi-automatic handgun at him and ordered the victim to empty his pockets. The victim took out less then $20 and some credit cards from his pockets and dropped them to the ground. The perpetrator picked up the money and told the victim to pick up his credit cards. The perpetrator rode off towards Rampart Street. The victim walked on home and called the police.
Based on eyewitness accounts, police stopped a suspect in the 1100 block of St. Bernard Avenue, about 8 blocks from the scene of the crime, about 15 minutes later. One witness positively identified him as the perpetrator, but because the victim hadn't reported the crime, the suspect was released. When the victim reported the robbery 2 hours later, a warrant was issued for the arrest of Stephen J. Butler, a 39-year-old black man whose last known address is 1019 Kerlerec St., on a charge of simple robbery and he was booked into Central Lockup a little after 2 a.m. on Wednesday, 5.23.07.
How rumors get started: A subscriber asked, " What's this I hear about assaults and robbery on females around the NOAC area? The truth is there was a lone purse snatching reported at Iberville and Burgundy streets, around the corner from the New Orleans Athletic Club on 5.12.07 at about 8 a.m. A 57-year-old white woman was walking from her home in the French Quarter to NOAC, which she does 2 to 4 times a week, when she was accosted from the rear by a black man who grabbed her purse and pushed her to the ground. He fled on Iberville toward Rampart Street. He was described as 25-30 years old, about 5'6"-5'8", approximately 165-185 pounds, short hair and clean appearance, wearing a black shirt and pants.
This is the only purse snatching reported recently in that area, but it is a neighborhood with perpetual problems and bears watching if you must walk in that area.
Pickpockets on the prowl: Black women, perhaps working in a team, are targeting late night denizens of the street, who may or may not be tourists (if only we had information on the victims!), offering sexual favors. Nothing particularly amazing in that, but here's how they operate: in one case, the woman perpetrator hollered at a guy near the casino and followed him into his hotel, where she grabbed his privates--while extracting his wallet from his pants. Another woman was even smoother as she approached a guy in the 300 block of Royal Street and offered her favors, which he declined. But when he got back to his hotel, he realized his wallet was missing.
Both of the women were black, one was described as age unknown, about 5'4" tall, weighing 100 pounds, wearing a light green tank top and blue jean skirt, and a blue "do" rag on her head. The other was estimated to be 32 years old, 5'4" tall, 130 pounds, wearing a red T-shirt, shorts, and white tennis shoes. Police are pretty sure they aren't dealing with college coeds, considering one of the perps reportedly shouted to her female accomplices, "he doesn't not want to" when the victim declined her advances.
Auto thefts abound: There were 13 more auto thefts last week, with most in the CBD or Upper Quarter. On top of that, there were 18 car break-ins. What's going to deter that? A good reason to show up at NONPAC meetings (second Thursday of each month at 5:30 p.m. at the Omni Royal Orleans) and query Captain Hosli.
Speaking of which: One disgruntled NOcrimeline subscriber, responding to my exhortation to attend NONPAC meetings, wrote:
"I have done my part by showing up to make my complaints known. And the police respond. They should do their part by doing what they say they will do to address/correct the issues. But they don't! Sure ,Lt. Selby gave us his cell number to call him. But I feel that if I come to the meeting to address issues and he tells me this will be taken care of, then I shouldn't have to nag him by making calls at all hours.
"Sorry, I don't have time to waste and I'm just discouraged with the results."
- "I can understand not using the victim's name, but I agree with you that male or female, how old, what race, and whether a tourist or local makes a difference in how we evaluate the risk of certain crimes happening to us."
- "I think it is just as important as the descriptions of the criminals, i.e. whether a female was walking alone or with a group, whether couples, loners, or the elderly seem to be the targets of the criminal du jour, and as in Gregg & Belinda's (the Hubers) case, whether the targets are white women. It helps us to know that information, and I think most victims would not care if their descriptions and names were revealed (as you said, it makes it more human and in many cases advises friends and neighbors who may not know, and can offer aid to their friends). Perhaps Capt. Hosli should add that question to the report form: if it's okay to reveal their name in a crime email."
- "Stripping the name and addresses is fine, but the sex, gender and age is important, relevant data. This sort of data is what helps my girlfriend and I formulate safety policies for given streets and times. For example, if we know single women are targeted, but a women and man together are not, then we will modifier our behavior accordingly."
As always, your comments and suggestions are welcome.