Algiers residents on alert after latest armed robbery

Print
Email
|

wwltv.com

Posted on April 18, 2013 at 10:40 PM

Updated Thursday, Apr 18 at 10:42 PM

Tania Dall / Eyewitness News
Email: tdall@wwltv.com | Twitter: @taniadall

NEW ORLEANS -- Businesses are on alert after an armed bank robbery on the General de Gaulle corridor.

This is just the latest in a string of violent crimes in Algiers that has some on edge.

"They told me it's temporarily closed and it's not going to be open until tomorrow," said Algiers resident Paul Wheeldon.

On Thursday, the FBI released a surveillance image of a man running from the Capital One Bank on General de Gaulle.

Investigators say seconds before he walked into the bank and demanded cash from a teller. According to one witness, he was armed.

"It never used to be like this. I've lived here 35 years. We never had problems before, but it happens now," said Wheeldon, who along with other customers were turned away from the bank shortly after the armed robbery, which happened around noon.

The Algiers resident says crimes like this seem to happen more and more in his neighborhood.

"It doesn't surprise me in this area. There are a lot of robberies ever since Katrina, you know," said Wheeldon.

Despite Thursday's armed bank robbery, NOPD Commander Brian Weiss tells Eyewitness News that the 4th District Station has a 45 percent "person crime" solve rate, which is above the national average.

However, in the last five months, a Shell gas station in the 3000 block of General de Gaulle has been targeted twice by gunmen.

NOPD's 4th District Station released surveillance video of men wearing surgical masked robbing the business. Commander Weiss says Jefferson Parish authorities made an arrest in a similar armed robbery, and since then his district hasn't seen any new incidents.

Last December, police say 27-year-old Fernando Eyzaguirre was gunned down by a group of people in the parking lot of a strip mall also on General de Gaulle. Five people were later arrested.

The murder unfolded just a few feet from Kim Spears' shipping business.

"They just enhanced the security system. They added more lighting. I have a sign in the window for Crimestoppers. Just basically trying to be aware of our surroundings," said Spears.

Since the murder, Spears says security has been beefed up at the shopping center. Signs warn criminals that crime cameras, remotely monitored by Project NOLA, are rolling.

But, this latest bank robbery just down the street leaves Spears and neighboring businesses feeling a little uneasy.

"I have customers come here day in and day out. They're concerned for my safety," said Spears.

Councilwoman Kristin Gisleson Palmer issued this statement in response to Thursday's bank robbery in Algiers:

"I hope that the 4th District police are being vigilant and closely monitoring recent events along the corridor. This is not a good trend. I also hope that the 4th District will be pro-active and increase patrols accordingly."

The FBI says the Metropolitan Orleans Bank Security Association is offering a $5,000 reward for any information leading to an arrest in this latest bank robbery case. If you can help, call Crimestoppers at 822-1111.

 

Print
Email
|