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THE INVESTIGATORS: OLOL employee raises concerns over security after nearly a dozen cars vandalized

THE INVESTIGATORS: OLOL employee raises concerns over security after nearly a dozen cars vandalized
Published: Apr. 12, 2022 at 5:28 PM CDT
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BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - One day after a man smashed his way into several cars at Our Lady of the Lake, an employee there is sounding the alarm and raising serious questions about the security inside the parking garage.

The pictures tell the story. They show windows blown out and glass scattered on the ground. It highlights the damage left behind after police say a man armed with a hammer smashed his way into 10 different cars inside the OLOL parking garage around 2 a.m. on Monday, April 11.

”It’s almost like this same garage is being targeted and nothing is being done about it,” the employee said.

A hospital employee, speaking only to the 9News Investigators if their identity was hidden, says enough is enough. The Monday morning smash and grab is the latest in what they call a troubling pattern at the parking garage so many people in Baton Rouge use.

”We just don’t feel protected,” the employee said.

Just nine months ago the same space was targeted when a 15-year-old carjacked a nurse in broad daylight. That nurse recounted the terrifying ordeal to WAFB not long after it happened when her morning routine was interrupted by a gun in her face.

”I looked in my side mirror and I saw a gentleman with a gun brandished in front of him. At that point, I just kind of froze,” she said.

WAFB’s Scottie Hunter asked the employee if they feel unsafe because a nurse was carjacked in the same parking garage in July and now ten cars have been broken into.

”Yeah, very much so,” the employee said. “And it’s hard walking out like I said with no security. I mean you see security on campus but when you go out like into the garage, there’s nobody out there and we have a lot of older nurses, women who are walking out by themselves. Nobody’s out there to escort them to their cars or even watching.”

The employee said they don’t feel safe at the hospital and they tell WAFB they are not the only one.

”At this point I’ve overheard nurses talking about they’re licensed to carry and at this point, they’re ready to defend themselves,” the employee said. “I hope it doesn’t get to that but that’s what you’re hearing.”

An extra duty Baton Rouge Department police officer and security there at the Lake saw the guy who smashed up the cars walking around with a hammer but he took off and remains on the loose.

While police say everything he tried to take was recovered, the worker says what the man was able to make off with was their peace of mind. They tell WAFB it’s downright shameful that the very healthcare heroes who were praised at the height of the pandemic are now forced to live in fear.

”I shouldn’t have to worry about that especially after working long hours at work. You’re already tired you know, so you don’t want to have to come out and put up a fight for your life,” the employee said.

When asked about the vandalism, officials with the hospital say they do have surveillance cameras and they are beefing up security in the parking garage and in the parking lots near the facility.

WAFB’s Scottie Hunter asked the employee what their reaction is to hearing the folks at the hospital say they have increased security.

“How? I mean we see the police at an entryway and we see them out where the pedestrians walk but we never see them outside their vehicles patrolling. They’re sitting in the cars all day long,” the employee said . “This is not the first incident and it won’t be the last.”

WAFB tried to get more specifics about the security measure at OLOL but was told no one from the hospital would be doing any interviews. A spokesman for the hospital did provide the following statement addressing the car break-ins:

The spokesman also provided the following list of additional steps the hospital has taken to combat crime on their campus:

  • Any team member, patient, or visitor can call security dispatch at any time to have a security team member escort them to their car. To request a security escort, call (225) 765-8825.
  • Foot and mobile patrols in all garages and surface lots.
  • Call boxes at all main entrances that connect directly with security.
  • 24/7 security at the main entrance.
  • Cameras strategically placed throughout campus, including at the entrances, exits and elevators of the parking garages.
  • FMOLHS Rave Guardian app. This team member app includes safety features such as security alerts (even when you don’t have a cell signal), one-button connection to 911 or security in the event of an emergency, and a safety timer you can set while walking to and from your vehicle.
  • Safety tips available to team members on intranet.

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