Gentilly man, robbed while hanging Christmas lights, recalls 'terrifying' ordeal

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wwltv.com

Posted on December 3, 2012 at 11:15 PM

Updated Monday, Dec 3 at 11:32 PM

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

NEW ORLEANS -- Real life Grinches tried to steal Christmas from a Gentilly man putting up his holiday decorations.

The man says Sunday night, three robbers dressed in black hoodies and bandanas yanked him off his ladder and ordered him inside the home at gunpoint.

The victim did not want to be identified, but told Eyewitness News:

"It was very terrifying. They seemed very nervous. I didn't know what they were going to do. They demanded cash and laptops."

The robbery happened in the 5400 block of Pratt Drive.

Folks who live along the tree-lined street in the Vista Park neighborhood in Gentilly were shocked to hear about the home invasion and robbery.

They hope it was a crime of opportunity and not a sign of things to come.

"I was out last week, putting out my lights," said neighbor Mike Guillaume. "The same thing could of happened to me."

"You don't really get much traffic through here," said neighbor Chris Walker. "This street is real quiet. So, that's probably why they picked this one."

The victim says the robbers zip tied his hands behind his back and made him lie face down on the floor while they ransacked the home.

He says they left with about $300 in cash, two computers, a cellphone, a wallet, jewelry and a television.

The victim claims it took more than two hours, multiple phone calls and a trip to the Third District police station by his roommate to get officers out to his house to investigate.

He said, "It was disappointing. I was expecting someone to show up in five to 10 minutes."

"Those calls are handled with utmost of importance because you want to preserve the crime scene as well as get officers into the area and flood the area for a possible apprehension of the suspect," said Fraternal Order of Police attorney Raymond Burkhart.

Burkhart says there are too few officers on the street.

"It's not the Third District's fault. Do you hear us now with regards to the manpower? 1260 officers isn't going to cut it. If you had enough people on the street the reaction time could have been a lot faster."

NOPD spokeswoman Remi Braden released this statement about the armed robbery: "Because the suspects had fled the scene, the call-taker initially classified the incident as a non-life threatening call. It's NOPD policy to call victims back if the log shows an officer has not arrived at the scene within 60 minutes. We're updating that process to take place within 30 minutes. In this incident, we are confirming whether the victim was called back. If not, disciplinary action will be taken."

Police describe two of the suspects as being 6 feet tall, 180 to 200 pounds and a third suspect as 6 feet tall, 250 pounds. The suspects were dressed in black with black bandanas.

 

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