New Orleans police on Wednesday blamed five carjackings and two shootings across the city over a weeklong span last month on an 18-year-old man and a 16-year-old boy, who they said had help from a 17-year-old boy in one of the carjackings.
The arrests of Cornell Sparkman, 18, and his two alleged accomplices came about the same time as arrests for a string of crimes attributed by police to another 18-year-old: Theron Glover, who’s been tied to more than 80 car break-ins across New Orleans since February, as well as a quadruple shooting in Central City on May 13.
Although the New Orleans Police Department stopped short of saying that the two sprees were related, Superintendent Shaun Ferguson portrayed the arrests as an important step in the battle against an ongoing surge in property crimes such as car break-ins and vehicle thefts, which are often carried out by young people.
He said the allegations against Sparkman, Glover and the others demonstrate how those involved in vehicle-related crimes can also engage in violence.
“We will continue to pursue those who break the law, who put people’s life in danger, and no matter what age the offender is, we will locate them, identify them and arrest them,” Ferguson said.
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The case began last month with a gray Honda CRV stolen from a Central City street. It grew into a string of alleged car burglaries across Gentilly.
According to police, from about May 17 to May 23, Sparkman and his 16-year-old accomplice worked together to steal one car each at gunpoint at Cadiz and South Robertson streets in the Freret area; Willow and State streets in Uptown; Edinburgh and Short streets in Gert Town; South Liberty and Marengo streets in the Milan neighborhood; and Doyle Court and Curran Boulevard in New Orleans East.
They also are alleged to have carried out separate shootings — six days apart — at Forshey and Hollygrove streets in Hollygrove and in the 1900 block of North Rocheblave Street in the 7th Ward.
At Forshey and Hollygrove, Sparkman and his accused cohort were riding in a stolen car when they shot two 16-year-olds and a 14-year-old after Sparkman became upset over comments on a social media application about a dead friend of his, police wrote in court documents reported on by NOLA.com.
On North Rocheblave, a man was shot in the hand.
Police arrested Sparkman, the unnamed 16-year-old and Deniro Alexander, 17, shortly after the carjacking at Short and Edinburgh, which NOLA.com reported was carried out with a gun stolen from the NOPD. Alexander is accused of having a hand in that carjacking.
The 16-year-old was not identified because of his age.
Meanwhile, police on Tuesday rebooked Glover on four counts of aggravated criminal damage to property and aggravated assault with a firearm. He was already in custody after police jailed him on claims that he shot four people at Fourth Street and Loyola Avenue while feuding with the brother of one of the victims over a woman.
Police also have linked him to 81 car break-ins across the city, possession of stolen property and other counts, adding that at least three minors who have been arrested helped him carry out a cluster of vehicle burglaries reported in Gentilly on May 30.
In part to try to drive down a year-to-date jump of about 106 percent in reported car burglaries, the NOPD this week began enforcing a curfew that largely prohibits people 16 and under from being out in public after dark without adult supervision.
Some children’s rights advocates argue that curfew enforcement does little to curb juvenile crime and carries the potential of excessively targeting black children, which in turn could erode their trust in police.
A man accused of fatally shooting the father of his girlfriend’s children in Kenner last month may be in the Baton Rouge area, police said Tuesday.