NEW ORLEANS — A brazen attempt at a morning carjacking of a Tesla owner Tuesday in Mid-City was caught in harrowing, crystal clear detail by the car's multiple video cameras.
The videos show the attackers in a Kia pulling alongside the Tesla, then zipping in front of it and slowing to a stop, forcing the Tesla owner to make his own unexpected stop. Two young men emerge and charge at the Tesla with semi-automatic pistols, forcing the victim into making a split-second decision.
“When they stepped out of the car, I put my hands up, said no, no, no, flipped it into reverse pretty quickly,” recalled the victim, who wished to remain anonymous.
The attackers fired one shot, but the victim escaped unharmed. The 14 and 17-year-old attackers, however, were caught about nine hours later in St. Bernard Parish.
St. Bernard sheriff's deputies caught the juveniles outside the Wal-Mart in Chalmette. Both were still carrying their weapons.
“At that point is when we discovered that both subjects were armed with semi-automatic weapons that turned out to be stolen from another jurisdiction, Jefferson Parish,” St. Bernard Parish Sheriff Jimmy Pohlmann said.
Not only were the juveniles carrying stolen guns, but they were also wanted in Jefferson and Orleans parishes in connection with other crimes. Plus, the 14-year-old had been on the run since escaping from the Bridge City juvenile detention center on Nov. 21.
Pohlmann said recent crime patterns – especially for juveniles committing carjackings and auto thefts – require constant cooperation between different parishes.
“The criminals cross parish lines all the time,” Pohlmann said. “And we're all seeing an uptick in juvenile crime.”
Pohlmann’s words are not only confirmed by recent crime statistics, but by the residents near Tonti and N. Patrick streets where the attempted carjacking and aggravated assault unfolded.
At about 8 p.m. that same day, a group of young burglars was caught on the very same block-breaking into parked cars.
Resident Carl Denooyer was among the victims. His security camera videotaped the thieves in action.
“I would hate to think that things are escalating and getting out of control,” Denooyer said. “I like to be an optimist, think the best of people, but it’s just scary.”
Pohlmann said those car burglars could easily become the next carjackers.
“Once they pull on a door handle and hit what I call the jackpot where they have weapons in the car, then they become armed criminals,” Pohlmann said. “They escalate to more violent crimes.”