New Orleans tow driver says he now mostly picks up stolen cars

New Orleans tow driver says he now mostly picks up stolen cars

NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - Car jackings shot up 150 percent across the city last year. As we work our way through the start of 2021, it doesn’t seem to be slowing down.

Tuesday, a woman shared her terrifying experience with FOX 8. She was carjacked at gunpoint around 1 a.m. in the Bayou St. John Neighborhood. Police were able to track down her car Thursday, but she remains shaken.

“The scene just keeps playing in my head, like, over and over and sometimes it’s louder and sometimes it’s like, this is background noise,” the victim said.

Although the car is still drivable, having multiple guns shoved in your face isn’t something easy to forget.

”Being by the car, I can’t even imagine sitting in it right now,” she said.

The car was found by police just before noon Thursday at the corner of North Dupre Street and Castiglione Street in the Fairgrounds Neighborhood.

”Everything was just tossed every which way,” the victim said.

Her purse, wallet and cash are all missing, but the thieves possibly left behind some prints detectives were able to gather.

”Ever since the pandemic, yes, I’ve noticed our auto theft went up,” Michael Greco said. “We pick up more auto theft than anything else for the city.”

It used to be mostly crash wreckage that owner of Bayou Auto, Michael Greco would be called to tow away. Now he says he recovers a stolen car at least once a day and that it’s the same for at least 20 other tow companies in NOPD’s rotation.

”Drug paraphernalia, shot up, just trashed and they put tint on the windows,” Greco said about the cars he recovers.

Greco says he finds a lot of newer cars 2017 and up, especially push to start that thieves have learned to hack into.

”That on came from the Lower Ninth burnt, 2019 Dodge,” Greco said while walking around his tow lot. “That’s what they do, they do a crime and then they blow them up. This one is a 2017 I picked up on Chef Highway. It caused a five-car accident. It was stolen.”

Greco says he’s been finding a lot of mangled burnt frames lately.

”They find them pretty much all over the city, but a lot of the burnt ones on Michoud in the Lower Ninth Ward right around the houses that got hit in Katrina,” Greco said. “We find a good bit of cars back there.”

The cars that still run Greco says usually turn up in neighborhoods like the Bayou St. John victim’s Hyundai did.

Although Greco grew up in the city, he says the crime has gotten way too intense for him to do anything but business in it.

”We don’t live here, we do business here and we drive our old cars,” Greco said. “We don’t bring our nice cars across the lake, we know better.”

Police are still on the lookout for the three armed suspects involved in this carjacking. The victim says they got out of a red SUV at the corner of Moss Street and Grand Route Saint John.

If you know anything call Crimestoppers.

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