NOPD searches for man who robbed 2 cab drivers in one day

Police seek cabbie robbery suspect

NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) - New Orleans police search for the man who robbed two cab drivers in one day, making off with almost $400 in cash.

Nawlins Cab Co. owner Sheree Kerner said the two cabbies robbed Friday are lucky to be alive.

"We're the most murdered occupation in the City of New Orleans, ahead of the police department," Kerner said.

Five years after the murder of her brother who was a United Cab driver, Kerner said her chief concern is for her drivers' safety. She has even installed a distress button in all vehicles.

"Whenever the driver senses that there's a particular situation that might be dangerous, it immediately alerts all of the drivers that are connected to the system, and it's also keyed to work with 911," Kerner said.

All cabs are required by the City of New Orleans to have cameras in them. NOPD released an image Monday of the man they say hailed an American Cab Friday around 5:40 a.m. on Bourbon Street and took it to the 3400 block of Piety. Then, just before 9:30 a.m., he took a United Cab from Bourbon to the 1300 block of Desire. In both hold-ups, the man implied he had a weapon and took the driver's cash, getting away with almost $400 total.

The robberies have renewed the debate over safety for cabs and ride-sharing companies, like Uber.

Uber New Orleans general manager Tom Hayes said while Uber drivers don't carry cash, the company is constantly exploring ways to keep drivers safe.

"We take safety really seriously," Hayes said.

That concern also extends to passengers.

"You can actually share your trip location with friends and contacts, and they can actually watch as you go towards your final destination if you have any concerns," Hayes said.

Uber drivers are occasionally victims of crime. In February, a driver was carjacked in the Desire neighborhood.

"It's definitely very rare, obviously a terrible situation," Hayes said.

But Hayes points out that the electronic storing of a passenger's information helps keep those incidents down.

Meanwhile, Kerner hopes the cameras in cabs will help turn the tide, exposing fewer drivers to the downside of an already dangerous profession.

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