The New Orleans Police Department on Monday sent out a lengthy news release touting 10 arrests in a series of recent armed robberies.
All of the arrests already had been reported by the department, but authorities apparently were eager to call attention to their successes in the face of recent reports about a spike in armed robberies.
Monday’s release announced arrests in connection with four incidents, all of which involved guns. Three of the incidents also involved the theft of cars.
The basics of the incidents had been included in a log that is sent to the news media each day, but Monday’s release included more details about each arrest and a prepared statement from Police Superintendent Michael Harrison. He said the arrests underscore his department’s commitment to catching offenders.
“The arrests made this weekend show how hard our officers are working every day to keep our neighborhoods safe,” Harrison said.
In one incident, police arrested three teenagers, ages 13, 14 and 15, late Saturday after they allegedly stole a 2013 Nissan Versa from a 31-year-old man and a 28-year-old woman at Poland Avenue and Burgundy Street in Bywater. The pair were walking away from the car about 9 p.m. when one of the youths pulled a gun and ordered one of the victims to “throw me the keys.”
The victims called the authorities from a nearby bar, and officers spotted the stolen car minutes later. During a chase down Florida Avenue toward the Florida Avenue bridge, officers said, they saw one of the suspects toss a gun out the window.
Police apprehended the suspects after they left the car and made their way into a backyard in the 5000 block of Burgundy Street. The discarded gun was recovered, police said.
Also on Saturday, an 18-year-old man was sitting in his car at Foxcroft Drive and Winchester Park Drive in New Orleans East about 11:45 p.m. when a man with a gun approached and told him to get out of his car.
As the robber, identified by police as Cory Patton, 18, drove away, he got stuck in traffic, and the victim’s brother ran up and tried to pull him from the car, according to police.
Two accomplices in a red PT Cruiser that was following Patton allegedly got out of their vehicle, robbed the victim’s brother at gunpoint and fled.
Officers arrested Patton after he crashed the victim’s vehicle, police said.
A day earlier, Nishawn Critney, 20, and two young accomplices, ages 14 and 15, were booked in several robberies, including one Friday in the 13200 block of Willowbrook Drive in New Orleans East, and a robbery and carjacking that took place the day before at Reynes and Burgundy streets in Holy Cross.
In the Friday incident, the trio allegedly took a woman’s keys and tried to steal her car but couldn’t get it started. Later that day, the police spotted a black Nissan Altima that the three supposedly had been driving. After a short police chase, the Altima crashed at Lake Forest and Michoud boulevards, and five people fled on foot, according to police.
Officers later caught and booked three of the five in the robberies; they let two other juveniles go after determining that they weren’t connected to the incidents.
Also on Friday, three teenagers, ages 14, 15 and 16, were arrested in connection with an armed robbery Jan. 9 at Elk Place and Canal Street.
The trio allegedly approached the victim about 6:20 p.m., and one indicated that he had a gun. The victim handed over his belongings, and the three suspects boarded an RTA bus.
Detectives said they learned that the three youths attended school together. They were booked at the Juvenile Center.
The NOPD has not been able to provide complete data showing how many armed robberies were committed in 2014. But department statistics show that incidents increased by 38 percent in the year’s first nine months, compared with the same period in 2013.
Follow Benjamin Oreskes on Twitter, @boreskes.