NEW ORLEANS — In seven separate cases overnight Monday, victims were approached by armed men trying to steal their cars.
NOPD is investigating three carjackings, two attempted carjackings, an armed robbery where a car was stolen, and an armed robbery where suspects tried to steal a car, but couldn't start it. It's unknown if the carjackings are connected.
One carjacking was outside a popular Magazine Street bar, Monkey Hill Bar. An employee said a couple was leaving their bar and went to their car.
According to NOPD, around 10 p.m. an armed man approached them from behind and demanded their property. Two other vehicles blocked the victims in and the victims gave the suspect their car. The suspect later crashed a mile away on Jefferson Avenue.
"It's a concern," Chip Crafton, who lives in Uptown said.
Ten minutes after the Magazine Street carjacking, a man and woman were driving on Henry Clay Avenue and Annunciation when someone cut them off, got out of the car with a gun, and the victims sped off, getting away from the armed suspects successfully.
"We're constantly worried about getting carjacked. I don't let my wife go out at night. I'm also worried about my children," Crafton said.
Crafton gets the fear the victims are likely feeling, as Crafton was carjacked in January while getting groceries out of his car.
"Two individuals approached me and a third from the side. When I got out, I had three guns pointed at me," he said. "Gave them everything I had. Told them, 'please don’t shoot, please don’t shoot.' I was crying."
In his case, Crafton said the suspects were arrested.
"They got juvenile life until 21. They were young, 14 to 18 years old," he said.
"This is part of a trend we've seen. Last week was a particularly bad week with 11 carjackings reported," said Rafael Goyeneche, President of the Metropolitan Crime Commission.
Goyeneche said carjackings are up 211% since 2019 with 211 carjackings reported so far this year.
"Unless the police apprehend these offenders, they are going to continue to commit these crimes," Goyeneche said.
"They have no reason to stop. There's no one to stop the crime were all concerned," Crafton said.
Crafton warns others not to sit in their car for too long to avoid being an easy target for carjackers.
"One of the worst things is sitting in your car on your phone with your head down not paying attention. It's not a safe place anymore," Crafton said.
NOPD hasn't reported any arrests in these carjackings and it's unclear if detectives believe they involve the same suspects.
These are the Monday night carjackings and armed robberies NOPD is investigating, based on the NOPD Major Offense Log:
- Attempted Carjacking at 5:59 p.m. on 2100 block of Barracks St: A woman, 50, was approached by a man with a gun who tried to get in her car. The suspect noticed the victim's children sitting in the car and left.
- Armed Robbery with Gun at 9:31 p.m. on 200 block of Loyola Ave: A woman, 30, was outside her vehicle when a man approached from behind and grabbed her keys. Armed second and third suspects approached her and demanded her purse. She complied. The suspects left in her black 2017 Audi A3.
- Carjacking at 9:59 p.m. on 6100 block of Magazine St.: A 32-year-old man and 29-year-old woman entered their vehicle when an armed suspect approached from the rear and demanded property and vehicle. Two other vehicles blocked victims in. Victims complied. Suspects left in their car and later crashed in the 2700 block of Jefferson Avenue.
- Attempted Carjacking at 10:08 p.m. on Henry Clay Avenue and Annunciation St.: A 64-year-old woman and 69-year-old man were driving when a sedan cut them off. An armed passenger got out of the sedan. As the suspect approached, the victims accelerated and drove away.
- Carjacking at 10:25 p.m. on South Carrollton Ave and Palm St: Two male suspects demanded a 59-year-old man's vehicle. He told them he had kids inside. A suspect ordered the kids out and left in the victim's blue 2020 Hyundai Elantra.
- Armed Robbery with Gun at 10:54 p.m. on 1100 block of North Rampart St.: A suspect approached the victim, a 26-year-old woman, and demanded her keys and phone. The victim ignores him. He repeated his demand, showing her a gun. She then complied and left. Both suspects entered her car but could not start it and left.
- Carjacking at 1:29 a.m. (Tuesday) on 5700 block of Countess Ln.: A 26-year-old man was in his car when two suspects demanded his vehicle and money. He complied. Suspects left in victim's burgundy Pontiac G5.