Armed robbery in City Park has residents on edge

Print
Email
|

wwltv.com

Posted on October 28, 2013 at 11:15 PM

Updated Tuesday, Oct 29 at 8:22 AM

Monica Hernandez / Eyewitness News
Email: mhernandez@wwltv.com | Twitter: @mhernandezwwl

NEW ORLEANS - It's a place where people exercise, relax and enjoy the outdoors.

But just days before thousands are set to converge on City Park for Voodoo Fest, it became a place where armed robbers targeted an innocent victim.

“It just hurts me, it breaks my heart really,” said Rhonda Lorio Smith, who likes to unwind with an evening walk in the park.

But Monday evening, she was on alert after an armed robbery in City Park Friday morning.

“Sometimes I walk by myself, usually I feel comfortable doing it,” she said. “When something like this happens, you think twice about that.”

A 38-year-old woman was jogging on Roosevelt Mall Street near Stadium Drive when two teens approached her, pulled out a gun and demanded her cell phone.

Police made an arrest within hours of the crime, after receiving information that the alleged robbers were spotted in the 1900 block of Hope Street.

After a short chase, Duwan Jordan, 18, and an unidentified 16-year-old were captured around the block in the 2600 block of AP Turead Street.

Jordan is charged with armed robbery, illegal possession of stolen things and possession of marijuana.

“[Armed robberies] are so rare here it was a surprise for us because it virtually never happens here,” said Bob Becker, CEO of City Park.

"I think it's crazy," said Jeanne Vidrine. "None of us really carry anything of value when we come out to exercise, so other than getting a phone, I don't know what else they would stand to gain."

The robbery happened just days before thousands of converge on City Park for VooDoo Fest. Park officials have a security plan in place with New Orleans police and the sheriff's office.

"We have extensive security here," Becker said. "If you come to enjoy the music, you should have no problem whatsoever."

No word on if the teens arrested are connected to a series of auto break-ins in City Park. There have been 11 in the last 30 days.

"At least 70 to 80 percent of all break-ins we've had in the park were for an opportunity crime where somebody saw a valuable left on the front seat," Becker said.

Jordan is in jail on a $50,000 bond.

Park officials advise you to jog with a partner and stay in well-populated areas. And remember to lock car doors and hide any valuables.

 

Print
Email
|