Police probe string of robberies in Bywater, French Quarter
NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) - It took only 28 seconds.
Surveillance video shows two young men walk into the St. Roch Tavern just after 6 p.m. As one holds a gun on the customers, the other goes behind the bar.
"I was more afraid for the customers after I saw the film and realized the other one had a nice big gun on him," says the bartender. "Because as far as I knew, he could have had a gun, but the first one that came behind the bar just said, 'open the register' so I did."
The robbery began a busy night for police in the 5th and 8th Districts.
Just before 9 p.m., New Orleans police say two men held up a 64-year-old woman near Chartres and Dumaine in the French Quarter.
Investigators say the men tried to grab the woman's purse, she refused, and her husband intervened.
After a brief struggle, police say one of the gunman hit the woman in the head with his weapon.
The two then took off in an SUV.
Fifteen minutes later, police say four teens tried to rob a group of women on Royal Street near Markey's Bar in the Bywater.
Lisanne Brown, president of the Bywater Neighborhood Association, suspects there were more incidents that went unreported.
"We're strongly encouraging residents to call the police and report incidents, every single one of them," she says. "Otherwise they don't get into the public record, they don't appear on incident sheets and so it's really important to make the call."
Police made four arrests shortly after the attempted robbery on Royal.
The oldest suspect is 17, the youngest is 11.
Now investigators are collecting evidence and looking at surveillance video to see if the four suspects are connected to the other crimes.
Ann Linn lives and works in the neighborhood and says she plans to install cameras around her home.
"Not so much because of yesterday, just in general," she says. "I've been very lucky, I'm not really scared but I think it's very good for the community, if something does happen, and little things do happen that you have things documented. It's not just even for me that I want them."
Police hope video taken during the crimes could help catch those involved and prevent another busy night.
If you have any information about the robberies, call Crimestoppers at (504) 822-1111.