NEW ORLEANS -- New Orleans police are investigating a bizarre series of car burglaries in the Uptown area.

It appears vandals are slicing holes in convertible tops, rummaging through the cars then pouring what appears to be sewer water into the cars.

Gloria Cosenza opened her car door to go to work two weeks ago and caught a whiff of something she won't soon forget.

"It smells like Mardi Gras ... the port-a-potties at Mardi Gras," Cosenza said.

Cosenza's car was parked overnight in front of her house near Soniat and Danneel Streets when her car was vandalized.

"First, I saw a puddle, a large puddle," Cosenza said. "Then I saw a cut in my convertible top, soft top convertible top. But, it was the smell that got my head reeling."

Cosenza is the latest victim in a string of similar car burglaries within blocks of each other.

Her car was damaged on July 23 in the 1700 block of Soniat Street.

According to the NOPD, another convertible was vandalized on July 15 in the 5300 of Dryades Street and another on July 7 in the 2500 block of Calhoun Street.

"I don't happen to find potty humor funny, ever, I know some people do," Cosenza said. "I just don't get this one. I don't get this joke. It's very weird."

Joe Calamari at Calamari's Trim Shop on North Broad Street is now working on two of the vehicles, including Cosenza's Toyota Solara.

"I thought it was some kind of sewer water because when we first received the car, we couldn't actually get into the vehicle, it was smelling so bad," Calamari said.

Calamari added, it looks like the vandals went out of their way to be destructive.

"They cut through the convertible tops," he said. "So, they have to replace the convertible tops on them and also remove the interior of the car and getting all the odor out and put new carpet in it and disinfect the whole interior of the car."

It's unclear where the sewer smelling material came from or how it was collected, but Cosenza said there are a number of port-o-lets near her house that could be a likely source.

"There is construction going on and there is a port-a-potty a block up from my street," Cosenza said. "It's bad, really disgusting."

In a statement, the NOPD said, "We are looking into these incidents but at this time detectives have no video or witnesses, so we’re encouraging anyone with any information on these incidents to contact Second District officers at 504-658-6020. "

Paul Murphy can be reached at