NOPD makes progress in F.Q. armed robberies, beatings investigations

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wwltv.com

Posted on January 23, 2014 at 7:46 PM

Updated Thursday, Jan 23 at 8:00 PM

Paul Murphy / Eyewitness News
Email: pmurphy@wwltv.com | Twitter: @pmurphywwl

NEW ORLEANS -- New Orleans police are making some headway in the search for those responsible for an uptick in armed robberies and beatings in the French Quarter.

Police say crime-camera video and Crimestoppers tips led to a suspect in Monday morning's armed robbery and stabbing near Ursulines and Burgundy. They are looking for a second suspect, 25-year-old Onishona Villarreal.

"They identified the suspect positively on the stabbing and cutting of the forearms, and also he was involved in a robbery a little bit later in the night further down the street at Kajun's Pub," said New Orleans Police Department Superintendent Ronal Serpas.

Police have also identified suspects in Tuesday morning's beating of French Quarter musician Doug Potter in the 800 block of Conti Street. They arrested 20-year-old Reeshawn Arnold and are looking for 30 year old Terrell Belvin. "This was a disturbance that flared up very fast," said Serpas. "We believe the people who attacked the musician are dangerous and need to be arrested." It's been a violent stretch for the French Quarter.

Anti-crime activist Nadra Enzi said it's a bad sign when you have two beatings and six armed robberies in five days.

"I think it shows the violence you see in lower income areas is mobile and can also target what has always been called the economic engine of our community," Enzi said.

He also said locals and tourists don't want to fear mortal combat on the streets and sidewalks when they visit the French Quarter.

"Conventions, family reunions, business owners, high level professionals who make good incomes can always chose to go elsewhere," said Enzi. "People are not going to live and their not going to have entertainment in a battle zone."

Businesses such as the French Quarter RV Park are warning guests to be careful.

"During the day, it's fine to walk from the facility to the French Quarter," said maintenance manager Corey Cosse. "If you want to go to the cemeteries, that's fine. But, at night we tell them if you've been in the French Quarter, enjoying yourself, try to take a cab back."

Cosse said an uptick in violence is not good for business.

"It's a big influx of income for the city, when you have a convention here," said Cosse. "People come from all over the country and you have people getting mugged or shot or robbed. It's a big concern."

Serpas did not want to give out too many details, but he said the NOPD has a specific plan to address the armed robberies and beatings in the French Quarter.

"If it's a spike in shoplifting we're going to be planning on how to deal with that," said Serpas. "If it's a spike in armed robbery we're going to plan on how to deal with that."

Serpas said it could be a small group of people committing these crimes.

"It's usually one or two people, almost always in New Orleans, they got out of jail and they went back out to do what they were doing before and unfortunately, we have to clean up after them."

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