5 forced into McDonald’s freezer at gunpoint by female robber in New Orleans, police say

NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) – New Orleans police are investigating two business break-ins that happened a few blocks apart Monday night (Oct. 17).

First, police say a woman with a handgun barged into the McDonald’s at 2856 South Claiborne Ave., went behind the counter, and forced five people into a freezer just after 8 p.m.

Investigators say the woman forced a manager to open the store’s safe, grabbed the cash, and took off on foot.

“This could have easily been much worse,” says Rafael Goyeneche, president of the Metropolitan Crime Commission.

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Then around 10 p.m., the NOPD says a man, unable to make a purchase at Vertigo on Freret Street, left the business and later returned with a gun.

Employees tell FoX 8 that the gunman told the clerk to empty the cash register and she refused. The man instead grabbed money from the tip jar and walked out.

“They are breaking into stores. They broke into the nearby coffee shop,” says Adam Ayyad, owner of Freret Stop.

People who live and work around the 4900 block of Freret Street say crime is constant.

“I don’t know what people are thinking. The police, though, have to do something very serious in this area,” Ayyad said.

The criminals are more brazen than ever, Ayyad said. He said someone broke into his vehicle in broad daylight a few months ago.

“It was daytime. I mean people just don’t care,” Ayyad said.

Goyeneche says addressing the NOPD manpower crisis will help combat crime but change will not happen overnight.

“I’m grateful that it’s there and something is being done about it, but it will take some time for the police department to be able to rebuild its numbers to be able to respond to the violent crime surge that we are now three years deep into,” he says.

According to the MCC, armed robbery has outpaced all other violent crimes in New Orleans, up nearly 50% compared to this time last year.

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