NEW ORLEANS -- It is never a good idea to stray off the beaten path in New Orleans, especially after dark.
Early Monday morning, a young woman from Kentucky and her boyfriend wandered about two blocks off of Magazine Street in the Lower Garden District. Crime cameras on a nearby business captured what happened near the corner of St. Mary and Hastings.
"From the film that I saw they were pretty intoxicated and an SUV kind of rolls by them real slowly," said a neighbor who did not want to be identified. He says a man with a gun, dressed in a hooded sweatshirt jump out of the black SUV.
"It sounded pretty intense," said the neighbor. "That guy had a ski mask on apparently, and they tried to grab the girl and pull her into the SUV."
The couple somehow managed to escape.
The woman and her companion ran down St. Mary Street towards Magazine and ducked into a bar.
"They were just crying and freaked out, and the bartender called the cops right away and cops came here very quickly," said the neighbor. "The cops were great."
Police now have the surveillance video and are trying to locate the attacker.
Magazine Street merchants say this is another crime that hits too close to home.
"My personal belief is, it is a small group of individuals that are perpetrating these crimes and I think the NOPD either knows who they are or are close to finding out who they are," said Sam Farnet, president of the Magazine Street Merchants Association.
Farnet says shop owners are organized with cameras and an instant crime notification system. But he wants shoppers should play a role in their own safety.
"Just be aware of your surroundings, especially at nighttime hours, don't walk alone on the streets, stay in a group," said Farnet.
"Just seemed like an opportunistic crime," said the neighbor. "I think these guys were rolling around, looking for someone to roll."
The vehicle used in the attack is believed to be a black Chevrolet Tahoe, from 2000 to 2006, possibly customized with blue high-intensity headlights.
This story was developed with our partners at the uptownmessenger.com.