NEW ORLEANS (WGNO) – New Orleans police are investigating a string of car burglaries that happened during Sunday’s Saints game.
Just last week, the New Orleans Police Department announced the start of extra patrols around the Superdome and Smoothie King Center to stop vehicle break-ins.
Josh Couvillion, who lives in Jefferson Parish, says he made the late decision to bring his six-year-old son to the Saints game and reluctantly parked in a public lot at the corner of Poydras and South Rampart streets.
“It’s a wide-open lot. I figured it would have been safe to do,” Couvillion said. “I didn’t find out until we got in there that they were charging $50 to park there for the game, but we wanted to get in the game and see it, and it was [my son’s] first game, so I bit the bullet, and then we ended up parking there.”
Couvillion and his family left toward the end of the third quarter. He says he was in disbelief at all of the broken vehicle windows, including his own.
“It couldn’t be in the middle of the day in the middle of a Saints game,” Couvillion said. “It had been raining most of the day. I knew that the actions were being more brazen, but I really didn’t think that they would go busting windows in a parking lot in the middle of the day with heavy police presence, a few blocks away but not necessarily where we were.”
Couvillion says he walked around for thirty minutes, looking for a police officer or someone in charge of the lot but couldn’t find anyone.
“My sister called the police at 2:11 p.m., I believe, and she received a call back at 7:06 p.m., asking if they still needed to send an officer over to the lot,” Couvillion explained. “We respectfully declined, and then I filled out an online report this morning, but I haven’t heard anything.”
Couvillion says this experience was the final straw when it comes to trips to New Orleans.
“We’ve been in talks with a few other friends about getting a room down by St. Charles [Avenue] for Mardi Gras. That’s completely out of the question,” Couvillion said. “I don’t think I’ll even go down there from the day parades. I mean, at this point, if I can’t Uber from my door to the door of where I’m going, then I’m staying out of Orleans Parish.”
New Orleans police did make three arrests in connection with some other car break-ins and attempted auto theft Sunday on Common Street.
NOPD has not commented on their response time to other areas.
On Wednesday, the city council’s Community Development Committee will discuss requiring live attendants and other new security measures at parking lots in the CBD and French Quarter.
The person who manages the parking lot on the corner of Poydras and South Rampart streets says there will be a security guard at the lot 24-7, starting Tuesday.