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Small business owner frustrated after NOPD officer stops pursuing stolen truck

Published: Jun. 12, 2021 at 10:39 PM CDT|Updated: Jun. 12, 2021 at 10:44 PM CDT
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NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) -For ten years and countless hours, Select Crawfish Company’s Chuck Wattigny has boiled crawfish for customers at Tracey’s Bar in the Irish Channel.

He says the night of Memorial Day, his job got a whole lot harder.

“I just had to stop here real quick to check and make sure the bar in these trailers was locked up,”

He says he left his truck running with thousands of dollars of equipment inside, but thought it was secure as he had his key fob in his pocket.

Wattigny says it took less than a minute to find out that was not the case.

“As soon as I turn around, someone jumped in it and backed up on to Magazine Street and was taking off that way. For a second I see a cop come down Third Street and he sees the whole thing happening and I was relieved for about 15 seconds. He turns on the lights and chases him for about a block, and I’m like yes, go get them. He then goes one block and then just stops and I’m like what are you doing? Go get this guy. He just stole my truck,” said Wattigny.

He says he watched the officer pursue his stolen truck for a block and then stop.

“It’s just mind-blowing, mind-blowing that you can steal someone’s truck personal property in front of them, in front of a police officer, and we’re not gonna do anything about it,” said Wattigny.

According to NOPD’s policy under the consent decree, officers are only granted permission to pursue when there’s a reasonable suspicion the suspect committed or attempted to commit a crime of violence.

He says he thought of Portia Pollock, the woman stabbed to death walking to her car last week, and feels lucky the incident didn’t turn violent.

“Disgusting, disgusting that these criminals are running our city right now and we can’t do anything about it and the police are not doing anything about it and we’re all helpless at this point,” said Wattigny.

Still hoping his truck is returned to him, he says he’s still irate as his trust in the city and its ability to protect its citizens is nearly gone.

“I’m done, I’m done man. I am fed up with the city the way they handle everything. This is not going on in other places. This isn’t going on in Jefferson Parish. We’re one parish over. I don’t wanna pay one more dollar to the city that doesn’t do anything for me,” said Wattigny.

Wattigny filed a police report with the NOPD.

They have not yet provided an update on the investigation.

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