People pumping gas in New Orleans, Metairie become carjacking victims

Updated: Apr. 1, 2019 at 4:38 PM CDT
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NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - "The route it’s going now, you have to have someone in your vehicle with you when you’re pumping your gas to make sure you’re safe,” said Tasha Morgan.

In just five days last week, three separate carjackings unfolded as people were pumping their gas.

“If you feel as though you have to go out and rob, you need to go get a job if you need to rob somebody at a gas station,” Moran said.

Two of the carjackings happened in New Orleans, one at Elysian Fields and Claiborne, and the most recent happened at a gas station in New Orleans East on Bullard.

“It makes me second guess things now that I’m aware of the situation, but it could happen anywhere, you know?” said Ashley Marced.

In Metairie on Saturday just before noon, the manager of Exxon at Veterans and Causeway told FOX 8 that a young woman pulled up and began using Pump #4 when she three men pulled up to Pump #3. The manager said two men got out and approached the woman and told her to get out of the vehicle. The victim complied, and they jumped in her SUV and took off.

“It’s sad that a woman had to be jacked in broad daylight, and to say they might have had customers on both sides of her and nobody did anything,” Moran said.

The Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office tells FOX 8 that arrests made in Baton Rouge and Ascension Parish are believed to be the Metairie carjacking suspects.

“Law enforcement, I know they’re putting their heads together right now, and they’re going to figure out what are the best ways to interrupt this kind of crime,” says criminologist Peter Scharf.

Scharf said police manpower, especially in New Orleans, can be an issue, but not one that would always make a difference.

“Unfortunately, saturating the streets to anticipate a carjacking is an implausible strategy, so we have to look at technology and we are going to have to look at peer culture,” Scharf said.

He said criminals may actually find it easier to carjack someone than to simply steal a parked vehicle.

“Stationary cars have everything from LoJack and on up. Security systems have drastically improved,” Scharf said.

“They don’t care what time of day it is. If they are going to get you, they are going to get you,” Moran said.

Scharf said no matter what, a carjacking is a crime that should be taken very seriously.

“For people who are being victimized, it’s terrifying. There’s also the risk of this escalating to an aggravated battery or a murder in some cases," Scharf said.

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