The Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office has arrested four boys from New Orleans — all ages 15 and 16 — in the carjacking of a 24-year-old woman who had her sedan taken from her at gunpoint after twice being rear-ended by the same car in Old Metairie earlier this week.
The Sheriff’s Office announced the arrests Friday afternoon, identifying the suspects only by initials — “JD,” 15; “HJ,” 15; “CH,” 16; and “JH,” 16.
None of the boys has a driver’s license, but all have prior arrests, the Sheriff’s Office said.
The Sheriff’s Office said it established after speaking with the four teens that they were riding around in a stolen Lincoln Navigator when they decided to “ramshack,” or carjack, somebody, settling on a woman in a Toyota Camry that they spotted near South Carrollton Avenue and Palmetto Street in New Orleans about 11:30 p.m. Monday.
The suspects bumped the woman’s car from behind on Palmetto. She continued toward the 17th Street Canal and was again tapped in the rear bumper by the Lincoln.
The SUV then followed the woman as she drove to the house of a friend in the 500 block of Hector Avenue in Jefferson Parish. There, one of the suspects, armed with a handgun, approached the victim, removed her from the vehicle and hopped into the passenger side of the Camry, the Sheriff’s Office said.
One of the other suspects then got behind the wheel of the Camry and drove off with it and the woman’s purse, which had her credit cards and personal identification in it, the Sheriff’s Office said. The other two suspects followed in the Lincoln, which had not been found Friday.
Investigators found the four suspects after one of the carjacking victim’s credit cards was used Tuesday to purchase multiple items from a vending machine at the Falstaff apartment complex at 2600 Gravier St. in New Orleans.
Authorities recovered video surveillance footage showing two boys using the credit card to buy candy and driving off in the stolen Camry.
Then, on Thursday, the victim’s purse and ID were found at a seafood distribution business next to the Falstaff apartment complex. State troopers patrolling near Broad Street and Esplanade Avenue then spotted a Camry with no license plate and three males inside.
Troopers tried to stop the car, but the 15-year-old driver sped away, the Sheriff’s Office said. The teen crashed the car in the 1200 block of Esplanade Avenue; all three occupants ran but were soon captured, said the Sheriff’s Office, which noted that the Camry’s license plate was lying on the rear floorboard.
Two of the suspects were booked in Monday’s carjacking. The third person in the car, identified as 18-year-old Dante Hills, was booked on illegal possession of a stolen auto and an unrelated warrant, but authorities do not believe he was involved in the carjacking.
After authorities interviewed the first two suspects, they learned of a third youth who participated in the carjacking. Investigators learned of the fourth suspect after speaking with the first three, the Sheriff’s Office said.
All four had been arrested and brought from New Orleans to the Jefferson Parish jail by Friday.
The victim initially told investigators that one of her carjackers was female, but that appeared to be mistaken and based on the pitch of a voice she heard, Sheriff Newell Normand said.
All four youths have prior arrests. Of them, “JD” has faced the most serious charges, with arrests on aggravated rape and simple burglary.
“This is not their first time at this dance,” Normand said Friday. “They’ve been around before.”
Normand said the Sheriff’s Office might release the suspects’ names after a hearing to determine whether they should remain in jail on the accusations they are facing. That hearing could occur Monday, Normand said.