Criminals shatter door 3 times, break in to New Orleans East OMV

Fox 8 Photo
Fox 8 Photo

The New Orleans East Office of Motor Vehicles hasn't been open a year yet, but it has already been vandalized and broken into twice.

Each time, nothing was stolen.

The OMV opened the Bullard Avenue location in January.

"Hopefully the word will get out among the criminals that there's nothing to be had here, so don't waste your time," said building owner Wade Verges.

OMV Commissioner Stephen Campbell said the criminals were, "clearly wanting to figure out where the safe is in the building."

OMVs across the state have always been cash-only, but many are in the process of switching to credit cards to increase efficiency.

"The idiot who is going to rob them may not be aware that they've switched to credit card," said Sen. J.P. Morrell. "So either way, it's important for us to create an environment where the employees and customers all feel safe."

Though each of the break-ins have been after hours, Morrell said he, Rep. Austin Badon and Rep. Wesley Bishop will work to find ways to make the location safer around the clock for the employees and the more than 100 customers who use the office every business day.

"If a place was being repeatedly burglarized, it was an indication that some people had thought something of value was in it, and it was only a matter of time in its current configuration without a security guard that someone might try and do something during daylight hours."

Morrell said like many OMVs across the state, there was no security at the New Orleans East location. Now, a Department of Public Safety Officer stands guard, but it is only a short-term fix because of budget constraints, Morrell said.

That was not something the building owner expected to hear.

"You know when the people in the French Quarter have problems, the State Police put 100 officers in the French Quarter. Well, we'd like a couple of them out here. You know, we're not asking for a lot," said Verges.

Verges said he removed the ATM from inside the building after the first break-in. Now, he's hiring a night guard to deter crime.

"It's an uphill fight to get tenants to the East to begin with, but when this happens, you know, something has got to be done," said Verges.

Morrell said the Orleans Sheriff's Office and the Constable's Office have committed to providing security for the Bullard Ave OMV for up to a month and a half, which Morrell said should be enough time to implement a long-term solution such as reinforced infrastructure.

NOPD provided this information about the two break-ins:

"Around 12:35 a.m. on Sunday, September 28, 2014, a simple burglary of a business occurred at the Office of Motor Vehicles located at 7500 Bullard Ave. Seventh District Police responded to a business alarm after a male suspect gained entry through a side door by smashing through the glass. Surveillance video showed the suspect as an African-American male with a medium build wearing all black clothing, black hoodie and white gloves. No money was taken, but there was some property damage. The investigation is on-going.

"Pending calls-for-service, Seventh District Night Watch officers will provide periodic patrols as they do with all closed businesses.

"The first incident occurred on Monday, July 14, at 2:15 a.m. In that burglary nothing was taken. The video showed two men entering the business and leaving empty handed shortly after. The two men were covered and wearing dark clothing. The point of entry was a side door. The interior storage room had been pried open. The subjects fled in what detectives believed was a 2000-2006 model Chevy Suburban or GMC Yukon XL."

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