NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) - In five armed robberies Uptown this month, New Orleans Police say one teenage boy is responsible. Investigators said the 16-year-old suspect sometimes rode a bike and carried a rifle inside a folding chair bag.
At a news conference Monday, NOPD Chief Michael Harrison said they have seen a recent increase in juvenile crime.
"There has been an increase in juveniles, but we are pursuing them with everything that we have," Harrison said.
Since Sept. 1, the NOPD has arrested 14 people for 19 armed robberies, and most of the suspects are juveniles.
"My message is clear to anyone who thinks they're going to get away with this type of behavior: You cannot run, you cannot hide, we will find you, we will put you behind bars each and every time," Harrison said.
Jerome Temple, who goes by the name DJ Jubilee, coaches and mentors young boys in Central City. He says there needs to be more mentoring programs, and kids need to know that if they do adult crimes they can expect to do adult time.
"Robberies is on the rise because young kids think that is where they can get fast money," Temple said. "They can get cell phones, it's easy and they think they can get away with it, so, that is a big problem, right now, and it's going to have to slow down by us addressing it more on TV, addressing it more in the media, address it more in the community. We need to address it more and loud."
And Harrison says they won't tolerate crime no matter what age.
"The message is clear - if they commit adult behavior, they're going to be treated as adults," Harrison said.
Investigators are now trying to figure out if that 16-year-old suspect is connected to any other similar crimes in the area. Police say they arrested three other juveniles earlier this month for a string of armed robberies, and they want all of them charged as adults.