NEW ORLEANS -- A suspect accused of knocking out and robbing a man in the French Quarter Wednesday evening is behind bars.
Police said Byron Rose, 29, confessed to punching the victim in the head from behind and taking his money. He was booked on a charge of second-degree robbery.
"(I'm) very relieved, very pleased that they were able to catch the guy," Darrin Schenk, the victim, told WWL-TV. "Thanks to the community, media, and police."
Schenk was near Gov. Nicholls and Chartres streets when he was attacked about 5:30 p.m. He was treated at a hospital after the mugging.
"I went down there (to the hospital) and he looked like hell,” Richard Bullock, a friend of Schenk, told WWL-TV on Thursday. “It looked like someone had driven a truck across his face,"
Police released a surveillance photo of Rose, whom State Police spotted early Friday morning at Esplanade and Dauphine streets, about a five-minute walk from where the robbery happened.
The owner of Angeli's on Decatur, a nearby restaurant, said he saw Rose around in recent days wearing the same thing he saw in the photo police released.
It seems like we're hearing about these types of crimes in the French Quarter more than usual, but New Orleans police say violent crime is down by nearly 40 percent in the tourist hotspot.
"We don't think this is a greater pattern of incidences happening in the French Quarter. We know overall we're trending down in the 8th district," said New Orleans Police Department Eighth District Commander Nick Gernon.
People who live in the French Quarter say crime may be going down but the number of "for sale" signs is going up.
"More for sale signs throughout the quarter. More signs all over the quarter than what we've usually seen in a long time," said longtime resident Jack Belsom.
"I think crime is definitely a component to the market and I think if it goes unchecked it'll certainly hurt property value. People don't want to be where crime happens," said David Favret, broker at French Quarter Realty.
Residents say crime is a big issue, but it's not the only reason why people are moving. They mentioned the economy and restrictions on short term rentals like air b-n-b. But when attacks happen in the middle of the day, people who live here say it's scary.
"Crime is sometimes bad and sometimes getting worse," Jack said. "It's street crime and it's unexpected because in broad daylight you're not expecting these things to happen. I don't go walking around in the middle of the night but at 5 in the afternoon, you'd think you could go to the grocery or the post office or go visit some neighbors.