NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - Eleven cars were burglarized or damaged in the Audubon Zoo parking lot on Sunday (Aug. 11), after a few dozen were hit just over a week ago.
Zoo officials said vehicle break-ins are not common in the parking lot, and they believe the recent incidents were highly planned and orchestrated.
Some of the vehicles were broken into and even one was stolen. Just 10 days ago, more than 20 vehicles were vandalized.
The zoo’s managing director, Steve Marshall, said they are trying to step up security, but he did not release details.
One victim from Sunday’s incident said zoo security told him cameras in the parking lot are not working.
Derek Diermann said that he noticed his truck had been broken into as he approached it.
“When I get closer, there’s a big piece of glass that’s mine and the guy next to me had a Silverado or some type of truck, his was broken into right next to me," he said.
Diermann said park security arrived 30 minutes later to collect fingerprints from the vehicles. He said some cash, a pair of shoes and car keys were taken from his vehicle.
“The kind of vibe that the park’s security gave was kind of just nonchalant, like yes, it’s been going on for a couple of weeks," he said.
However, Marshall said their cameras are working and captured the license plates of the vehicles the perpetrators drove off in.
"This is what we've been advised. To not outline the details of what our current and future security protocols are going to be. We are going to take action, we are going to do more, but again, this is not the normal situation that anyone would normally defend against,” Marshall said.
Zoo officials also confirmed that the incidents on Sunday and Aug. 2 happened around 3 p.m.
New Orleans police are investigating the incidents and trying to find the perpetrators.
“Detectives are working with Audubon Zoo personnel in these investigations, and both agencies are actively working together to deter future incidents. To this degree, the Second District has increased patrols around the zoo, its parking lot and the surrounding area,” a police spokesman said.
Anyone with additional information on these incidents is asked to contact NOPD Second District detectives at 504-658-6020 or Crimestoppers at 504-822-1111 or toll-free at 1-877-903-STOP.